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Effective Communication Skills for Sales

Quick Notes - Communication Skills:
  • Requires you to listen, engage, think critically, retain information, and know how to articulate info properly.
  • Concentrate on Oral communication, Body language, and Written communication.

How many times do you have a conversation with someone who just ‘doesn’t get it’? How about someone who doesn’t listen to you? Or worse off, how about someone who says very little and simply nods their head? There are plenty of examples of ways in which people are poor communicators. Unfortunately, these kinds of people will never be successful salespeople or managers. Effective communication is part of a person’s selling skills, and is often times left out of sales training. This is problematic if communication skills are the most important factor in running a successful business, making sales, or simply living your life.

Becoming an Effective Communicator

Being an effective communicator requires that you know how to listen, know how to engage, know how to be a critical thinker, know how to retain information, and know how to articulate information properly. This article will break down effective communication into three categories. These categories include oral communication, written communication, and body language. All three are integral in mastering before you can achieve effective communication skills. Why do you need to be a good communicator in order to be successful? If you’re a salesperson, you need to be familiar with successful selling techniques and you need to be able to articulate those techniques to your clients. If you’re a manager, you need to be able to develop strategic sales plans or sales management strategies that require a heavy amount of written communication. It may also entail presenting information to colleagues or strangers. All communication derives from our ability to speak with others and interact with others. How can some people be better speakers than other people?

Oral Communication

Oral communication is the basic interaction through speech, between human beings. Being an effective speaker requires you to be knowledgeable of whatever you may be speaking about. You must have a purpose in speaking. In the business world, you may be trying to present a business plan to investors. At home, you may be trying to get your children to do something. In both cases, there is purpose in why you are speaking. In fact, every time you speak there is a purpose behind what you say. You need to ensure your purpose in speaking is always positive. This means going into a speaking engagement with only positive intent. If you begin speaking with negative intent, your audience will feel uneasy and will likely not listen to you. This positive intent is part of the basic sales skills any business person will need to acquire. As a speaker, you will want to speak in varying volumes and tones. This adds variance to your voice and keeps your audience connected. If you speak in the same tone, and at the same volume level, you will be speaking in monotone. This will quickly put your audience to sleep. Variance is especially important during longer speeches or presentations. Feel free to add some tasteful humor in an effort to rejuvenate your audience. Eye contact is the most important aspect of oral communication. Eye contact with your audience allows a layer of trust to be established between speaker and audience. Through eye contact, both sides believe they are engaged and are listening intently. Finally, effective speakers also pace themselves through their material. They do not race through what they have to say. They calmly address all of their points to their audience. This will make your audience feel more at ease with you, and be more interested in ultimately believing what you have to say. If you’re uneasy, your audience will be too.

Body Language

Body language is often times the most forgotten aspect of effective communication skills. You may have the most exciting or important thing to tell somebody, but if you’re hunched over and yawning while you try and articulate your points, you will assure that they will not be very interested in what you have to say. They see you uninterested in your own material, giving them very little reason to be interested either. The other big no no’s of body language include twitching, yawning, excessive posturing, and avoiding eye contact. Be as mindful of what comes out of your mouth, as you are with the way in which your body appears to be behaving during a speaking engagement.

Written Communication

Written communication is more of a developed skill than it is anything else. To be effective at writing, you must understand punctuation, grammar, sentence creation, and spelling. How many times have you read an e-mail or letter by someone that did not proof read what they had written? It’s messy, unprofessional, and very telling of how serious you value what it is you’re writing about. As a writer, you need to write like you would speak. Write with positive intent, professionalism, and be calm as you write. Professional means addressing people appropriately, and having someone edit what you have written so that it flows and that it makes sense. Important sales plans and business plans cannot be submitted to potential investors or managers if it’s full of spelling mistakes and errors. Your readers will spend more time trying to figure out what you’re saying than actually trying to understand your point.

The Effective Communicator

The culmination of oral and written communication, alongside positive body language is integral to ensuring you are an effective communicator. If you lack the ability to write well, do not be ashamed to teach yourself or find a tutor to assist you in learning the basics of writing. It is a very transferrable skill that will help your career or life tremendously. Similarly, if you’re scared of speaking in front of crowds or are unable to effectively speak to others – take a course on public speaking. Clients of mine have spent hours talking to themselves through a recorder, just so they can replay it and make sure it flowed well and made sense. Further, I’ve had clients speak to themselves in the mirror to ensure their body language was positive and unobtrusive.

The reality is that effective communication skills are used in every aspect of your life. Whether you’re making a sales pitch, speaking with family, or writing a business plan, your ability to be an effective communicator will be rudimentary in your success.