Successfully doing business and making sales is about communicating with someone who wants what you offer.
It sounds pretty simple on paper, but in reality, communication is rarely straightforward and crystal clear.
Understanding how you and your team communicate with others can lead to better business and more clients.
The way to have more prospects – and earn more commission dollars – is to create relationships through connections and conversations!
Some people are born with charm and charisma to make the sale every time, but what about the others that struggle to be understood?
Luckily, even if you aren’t born with a golden tongue and the gift for gab, you can learn how to speak clearly and connect with others.
Learning to communicate with others so that they really listen is easier than you might think and the first step is understanding the five basic communication styles.
First, figure out your own style, and then you can dive into understanding the best way for you to navigate with the other styles. It’s not magic or rocket science. It all starts with self-awareness.
Five Common Communication Styles
There are five basic communication styles that are used in both verbal and written communication.
Understanding each style and how you communicate is essential to clear communication and ensuring that your message is understood and not misinterpreted.
Miscommunication leads to communication breakdown, disengagement, and in some cases, conflict.
Of the five communication styles, the assertive communication style is thought to be the best way to communicate because it incorporates the positive from the other styles.
It’s important to note that it’s common to use a mix of communication styles depending on the situation and audience.
Aggressive communicators are not afraid to share their opinions and often do so in a loud manner. They can be dominant and come off as hostile to anyone that does not agree with them. Aggressive communicators struggle to listen effectively to others.
Passive-aggressive communicators tend to agree with others and follow the group. They do not share their opinions with others, even when they are in opposition which leads to passive-aggressive communication.
Submissive communicators avoid conflict. They often feel that other people’s opinions and ideas are valid and that their own are not. This style is tied to a victim mentality which makes effective communication difficult.
Manipulative communicators are highly skilled at getting what they want at all costs. They often let ethics slide and will do anything to have an advantage over others. While manipulative communicators might get a lot of sales, they will not get returning customers.
Assertive communicators are seen as the most effective communicators because they are able to clearly communicate their opinions and ideas while still maintaining a polite and courteous manner. They speak directly and honestly in all situations.
How Communication Style Affects Sales
We can’t always know potential client’s communication style, but we can familiarize ourselves with our own and how we connect and communicate with the world. This takes patience and, to be honest, complete authenticity.
We don’t always see ourselves how we are. We like to imagine we are the best version of ourselves, so taking an honest assessment of our own communication style is necessary.
While there is no one-size-fits-all to communication, it is possible to understand our clients’ communication styles. But you may be wondering, exactly how do we know our clients’ style?
Well, unless you are a mind reader, and I have a feeling you probably aren’t, then the next best thing is to listen and look for clues on how to read people, which we can only truly do if we understand ourselves.
How to Understand and Communicate with Clients
Listen – It’s simple, listen. Being curious about how you can help and listening becomes automatic. Listen to your clients and let them explain their pain points and what they are looking for.
Ask Questions – The best way to listen and learn is to ask questions. Stay away from yes/no questions. Instead, focus on asking open-ended questions to get your clients thinking and explaining their needs and problem.
Pay Attention to Body Language Yours and Theirs – Be aware of body language. What is the client’s body language telling you? And is that different from what their words are telling you? Body language is a key component in communication, and many don’t realize it. Pay attention to your own body language and ensure you are open, curious, ready to help, and actively listening. Avoid multi-tasking, and make sure your body language matches your words.
Read Between the Lines – Of course, you need to pay attention to what is being said, but equally important is what is not being said. Is the client avoiding a topic? Or sidestepping an issue? Learn to cue into others and what they may be holding back.
Make Yourself an Expert – Whatever field of sales you are in. You must be an expert. Your client needs to know that you have the knowledge and experience that they need. Their time is valuable, and they need to know it is being given to an expert and not being wasted. Take classes, ask questions, learn from your colleagues and superiors, and never stop seeking knowledge and thinking about the next steps. Continue to grow and expand your skillset to be valuable.
Have Integrity – Be a person of your word. Do not ever let anyone doubt your sincerity and integrity. When you are honest and authentic, others know who you are, and they can trust and depend on you when it really matters. In today’s world, integrity is becoming scarce and, sadly, one of the most important characteristics of a successful sales professional. A sales professional known for high integrity in the long term will out perform the competition hands down.
Have Empathy – Look at the topic from your client’s perspective and analyze how you would react in the same situation. Perspective in problem-solving and troubleshooting makes all of the difference. Never assume you know what anyone else is going through. Be empathetic to others’ situations.
Trust and empathy, real empathy is rare these days. The digital world has actually separated us instead of bringing us together. In remote relationships, it’s easier than ever to lack empathy for others, especially when communicating with people online.
People become like objects instead of humans, and this disconnect affects how we interact and connect. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Making connections and having authentic communication takes self-awareness, authenticity, and social responsibility.
Psychologist and author Daniel Goleman has identified three types of empathy and relates them to the head, heart, and gut.
- Cognitive empathy – understanding other’s emotions and perspectives. Being able to identify and understand how others are acting and reacting.
- Emotional empathy – comprehending that a person physically feels what others are feeling. It can be confused with sympathy, which can be condensing instead focus on connecting emotions to fully comprehend others.
- Emphatic empathy – sensing what others need from you, what your role is in the moment, and being present to experience the situation.
Learning to understand yourself and your communication style leads to self-awareness which is a key factor in developing empathy. When you are able to understand yourself and others, you will be able to navigate the tricky waters of communication styles that do not match your own.
You and your sales team benefit from learning tools and strategies to work through sales communication roadblocks. We are all different, and communicating clearly can be difficult, whether it’s understanding potential clients, finding common ground with colleagues, or negotiating numbers to meet the bottom line. Being able to ensure everyone is on board and there is no miscommunication saves time and, most importantly, money.
The bottom line is flexibility works. There are quite a few ways that we at DrWeberCoaching teach you how to identify and respond flexibly and effectively to different sales communication styles.
If you would like to learn more about communication in sales, communication styles, and gain a deeper understanding of how your and your team’s communication style affects your sales and, ultimately, your bottom line, reach out to DR WEBER at HERE for a Sales Success Mastery Session.