Sales & Sales Management Expertise

3 Lessons for Effective Communication in Selling

Tags: sales competencies, sales prospecting, building sales relationships, sales problems


Sales success is not dependent on people liking you but rather effective communication.  Effective communication is the key to building confidence and trust with a new prospect to whom you plan on selling your products and solutions. Your ability to do this effectively will create the foundation for your long term relationship and determine how much you sell, how quickly you sell and the pricing you can establish.

A Minneapolis couple decided to go to Florida to thaw out during a particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So, the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day. The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an email to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her email address, and without realizing his error, sent the email. Meanwhile, somewhere in Houston , a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a minister who was called home to glory following a heart attack. The widow decided to check her email expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she screamed and fainted. The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor and saw the computer screen which read

To: My Loving Wife

Subject: I've Arrived

Date: October 16, 2009

I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now and you are allowed to send emails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked into my room. I've seen that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then!!!! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was. P. S. Sure is hot down here!!!!


The lessons:

1.  Certainly the lesson from the email is to be in front of the right people.  Communicating your message to the wrong person is a formula for disaster as it relates to your sales success.  The prospect may not faint but certainly your business success will suffer.  Call at the highest level in the organization where the decision to buy your product is made.  Once you start too 'low' in an organization, it is very hard to work your way up into the corner office where the decision will eventually be made.

2.  Do sweat the small stuff in your communication. The smallest infraction, omission or change in words can make a big difference in how your message is received.  When making phone calls and you are talking with your intended contact and you are about to deliver your value proposition or what we call your unique sales approach (usa), there is a big difference between saying, 'Can I tell you why I called?' and 'Let me tell you why I called'.

3.  Saying the wrong thing to the wrong person can cause disaster. When you are attempting to qualify a prospect, it is essential that you ask the right questions, the right way at the right time. Time and time again, sales people have been taught to ask 'open ended' questions, and time and time again, while role-playing, I witness seasoned professionals asking yes or no questions.  Normally, the content is correct (right question), but asked the wrong way (closed ended).  

What is the most important thing that you have learned about effective communication in your career? 

What is the biggest communication mistake you've made and would instruct others to avoid at all costs?

If you could do one thing better to more quickly establish trust and confidence with new contacts, what would it be?

ps.  Thank you, Pam, for sending that email.

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