Communication skills are the key to sales success. It’s not enough to know what to say; it’s also a matter of how you say it. Knowing what to say and how to say it takes real skill. And building the necessary skills demands preparation and practice. For interactions with clients to be successful, three things must happen:
- Clients must understand what you’re saying.
- Clients must see the value in what you’re offering to them.
- Clients must trust you—the person in the room speaking directly to them.
Communicating value is an essential step in the sales process. Success depends on your ability to articulate the value of your products and services. And, unfortunately, most sales training doesn’t cover this. The foundation of sales communication is built on these nine essential communication skills. And, you will see how understanding and implementing them will lead you to a successful career in sales.
1. Public Speaking
Public speaking is a common stumbling block. For some people speaking in front of a group is an exciting and stimulating way to share ideas, but for the majority of people, the mere thought of standing in front of a group of people incites fear; fear of making a mistake, fear of not being understood, and fear of being rejected. There is no denying that in every career, you will have to speak to a group of people at some point, so you need to master this skill to take the lead in meetings and presentations to get your ideas out there.
Learning to give presentations and speak to groups requires practice. You can start by practicing in a controlled setting and getting feedback. Seek out opportunities to practice; the more often you speak to large groups, the more comfortable you will feel.
Before any presentation, ask yourself:
- Who is my audience?
- Why are they here?
- What do I need to convey to them?
The audience is always on your side until they aren’t. They are giving you their time, so take the reins and convey your message with confidence. And, if you don’t feel confident, then fake it until you make it. Confidence begets confidence.
2. Emotional Intelligence
Professionals that understand the importance of emotional intelligence are going to move forward in their careers because it’s an essential part of relationship building. Whether you are building a relationship with a client or a colleague, having high emotional intelligence will foster connection.
Emotional intelligence is essentially being self-aware of how our words and actions affect others. Sales professionals with high emotional intelligence understand others and can show empathy, navigate social situations, and self-regulate their own emotions.
In the workplace, high emotional intelligence looks like
- Accepting criticism graciously and learning from it.
- Taking responsibility and not playing the blame game.
- Focusing on problem-solving that benefits all parties involved.
- Being open-minded to new ideas and creative solutions
3. Executive Presence
Do you carry yourself with confidence? Are you able to inspire your team to action? This is what executive presence looks like, a leader that knows their value but also knows the value of their team. Executive presence is difficult to define, but everyone knows it when they see it.
Think of executive presence as a state of mind that means keeping your composure in difficult situations; it demands you to be the leader that your team needs. You must show your team that you are a leader and inspire them to be the best sales professionals they can be.
Carry yourself with grace, and listen to your colleagues, be an ally to them. Inspire them to be successful by being successful yourself. Lead your clients to the best solutions for them. Show your competency and skillset, and make sales matter.
Observe others you believe have executive presence, define what that looks like to you in your specific field, and emulate it.
4. Body Language
Our bodies start to communicate before we even open our mouths. So be aware of what you are putting out there to colleagues and clients. Your body can show whether you are interested, bored, confused, apprehensive, and much more. So be mindful of what your body language is conveying about you. Make sure your body language matches your message.
Any salesperson worth their weight knows that storytelling is a skill that gets sales. It appeals to everyone and is how we make connections regardless of what field we are in. Every story has a main character, a challenge, and an aha moment when the challenge is overcome. A good story has a takeaway or a call to action; understand what you want that to be so your story can guide your client to where you want them to be. Engage your clients with a story and activate their imagination, and pull them into the scenario.
Some professionals are natural storytellers, but others need to practice. Identify which you are, and focus on building your storytelling skills. Things to consider before you start your story:
- What is the objective?
- What is the challenge?
- How is the challenge managed and eventually overcome?
- What is the end goal?
Good storytellers can read the room, engage with their emotions, and stir up the listener to action. Use metaphors and analogies to keep listeners engaged. And most importantly, keep the story simple. Its purpose is to lead to action, so don’t overcomplicate the message.
6. Active Listening
Active listening is when the listener demonstrates to the speaker that they are listening. It can be through body language, like nodding in approval. It can be through eye contact or nonverbal noises, or even short phrases like that’s interesting, go on, or I want to hear more. Let the speaker know that you are actively engaged and care about what they have to share.
Everyone wants to be heard, and everyone wants to feel like they are really understood. In sales communication, you must understand the client and not assume you know what their needs are. Listen to them, repeat back key points, and ask questions. Do not multitask; put down your phone and pen and really listen. You will win over clients and colleagues alike by actively listening and showing that what they are saying matters to you.
Winning people over is about taking the time to make them feel seen and heard
Be honest. Keep your word. Have integrity. If you want a first-time client to be a repeat client, then be a person of your word and show integrity. Sales communication really is that simple.
8. Positive Growth Mindset
Stay positive, focus on the goal, and always think about what is next. A positive growth mindset means Accepting new challenges and learning from your setbacks, and keeping moving forward to the next thing. Sales training doesn’t always teach you the importance of positivity. The road to success is not linear. It is bumpy with many curves; you may feel carsick; keep going. Look at every opportunity as a learning experience and prioritize growth.
Work on developing your positive growth mindset every by:
- Embracing challenges.
- Understanding and connecting with your purpose.
- Having confidence in your abilities.
- Staying positive even in moments of defeat.
Leveling up your sale communication skills requires mastering these nine communication skills. And mastery takes practice, just like driving a car. It isn’t enough to watch the drivers’ training video—you’ve got to get in the car and drive, ideally with an experienced teacher beside you to help you decipher the road signs and react quickly to unexpected roadblocks.
If the investments you’re making in yourself or your organization aren’t bearing the ripe, juicy fruit you expect, it’s possible you and your team aren’t communicating effectively as you could be. If you are ready to explore how you can upgrade your communication skills and make the sale every single time, connect with DR WEBER Coaching.
DR Weber is an expert Communication Coach focused on bringing out the excellence in you and your team. Efficiently and effectively communicating is the key to connecting with clients, and it’s the first step in sales training that will take you where you want to be.
Keywords: sales communication Sales training, Communication skills for sales