A career in sales can be very exciting and lucrative for people who do well in it. Sales brings in revenues for any organisation, and revenues help companies move forward. As long as one is performing well and continues to bring in sales, one’s job is fairly secure because in times of adversity businesses slash costs, while trying to keep revenues high. Yet, success in a sales career isn’t guaranteed for everyone. It takes certain personality characteristics to really do well in a sales job -- being able to communicate effectively is certainly one of the keys.
By definition, selling is being able to get somebody to part with their resources (be it time, money or some other material form) in exchange for something that you’ve got to offer. This means that the potential buyer has to be first convinced about their need or want for a particular product or service that the seller is trying to sell. The default position of a potential buyer is to often say “no” to any sale because they may not see the exact value of what is being sold to them.
A good salesman therefore has to have excellent communication skills. By communication skills for sales, we don’t refer only to their ability to talk to a prospect. Instead, a salesperson needs to be equipped with the entire gamut of communication skills: non-verbal communication (body language), listening and speaking.
First impressions matter in a lot of professions; but they have an even bigger role in sales. The initial impression is formed not only by how a person is groomed and presents himself to a prospect or the English fluency that they demonstrate, but also in how they communicate non-verbally during a conversation. Many sales people inadvertently give out negative vibes to a prospect - either an indifference or lack of interest, a lack of confidence or even over-confidence and arrogance. So, it is extremely critical to learn the essentials of effective non-verbal communication and understand how you can avoid the common pitfalls associated with that.
The importance of being a good listener cannot be underestimated in succeeding in a sales job. Only a salesperson who listens intently to a prospect, understands his/her needs/wants and then explains the value proposition of the product or service in the context of the prospect’s needs will succeed consistently. This is particularly true of ‘concept’ selling or selling of complex solutions/services, though it can apply to the sale of commoditized products too.
A good salesman has to be able to address potential objections from the customer or provide clarifications. When providing these, the salesman has to ensure that they do so with utmost confidence and clarity, without ever appearing defensive or disrespectful to the prospect.
The key points to remember to ensure effective communication for better results in your sales career are listed below:
- Create a great first impression: from you present yourself to how you greet the potential customer the first time, pay attention to the vibes you are giving out. People like to buy from people they ‘like’ and ‘trust. Being able to speak good English fluently certainly creates a positive impression especially when you are carrying out institutional sales of high-value items in India.
- Listen carefully to the customer: Whether a customer is talking about his/her pain points or implying certain needs and wants, pay close attention so that you can discern these.
- Focus your sales communication on the customer: Instead of focusing your sales pitch on your product or service, focus on how the customer’s pain points or needs will be best handled with your solution.
- Handle objections politely: Objection handling is a critical skill for any sales person. This is a test of a person’s temperament as well as the ability to understand the root cause of the objection (whether explicit or implied), and then ultimately communicating why the objections are misplaced.
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-By Chander Madan