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“There is enough pain and difficulty in most people’s lives. When you offer them a pleasurable escape and then deliver what you promised you will have a customer for life… The second part of that statement is what builds your reputation and relationship.”
~ Chandell Labbozzetta
If so, then you need to hone your communication and relationship-building skills so that you can have more effective conversations and make lasting connections. STOP making excuses about your ability to communicate, be memorable, and make sales. Everyone can learn these powerful communication skills that will not only make you more influential but will also enrich every area of your life.
Sales and salespeople have a lousy reputation.
What negative images and impressions do you have around sales?
What adjectives do you mentally associate with sales?
Common examples include: used car sales people, real estate agents, MLM recruiters. Common adjectives include: sleazy, pushy, lying, deceptive…
As a sales trainer and the founder of Life Puzzle, a sales and personal development company, I often hear these negative stereotypes offered as reasons why people don’t want to participate in sales training. “I want to be authentic and genuine,” people will say – or… “I don’t want to force people into a decision.”
I agree wholeheartedly.
IF… you don’t believe that your product or service can:
THEN… Find something that does. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Ever!
So… Now that I’ve delivered that warning, let’s talk about the key to effective sales and persuasion (which is the bigger context of sales) => Communication Skills
Good teachers start with an inventory of their students’ individual strengths and weaknesses even if they’re teaching a class. It doesn’t matter what skill you are talking about, this is a fundamental tool for helping your students make observable progress and it applies to communication skills as much as to anything else.
One of the things I look for in any trainers that I add to my team is an ongoing learning habit because that makes them better teachers. You see, habitual learners find creative ways to identify their own strengths and weaknesses and that enables them to identify them in others and give specific targeted feedback and analysis. This is especially important in communication because – for most people – their problem isn’t “communication” as a whole, it is specific parts of the communication process that they find challenging – for some it’s attention or focus; for others it might be body language or eye-contact skills; for others, it’s the words they choose.
Once you understand your own specific strengths and weaknesses in communication, you can take steps to enhance your strengths and overcome your weaknesses – and for most people that takes personal attention which is why people struggle to progress when they just buy a book or a course that doesn’t provide personalised feedback.
Just 7% of communication consists of the words used. The rest of your communication is non-verbal. That doesn’t make your choice of words UNimportant – but it doesn’t mean that you have more to work on than just your words if you want to enhance your communication skills.
I remember one student who couldn’t work out why people felt uncomfortable talking to him. Within minutes we identified the problem: he was making too much eye-contact and invariably people he talked to would break off the conversation as quickly as possible because it looked like he was trying to stare them out or hypnotise them. He had heard about making eye-contact and over-developed the habit. He didn’t break it at once, especially if he was interested and engaged in conversation, but as he became better at reading body language and active listening he was more attuned to his conversation partner and learned to read the signals.
Today, he uses eye contact appropriately to communicate focused attention, but he’s quick to perceive if others are feeling threatened and to adjust his technique appropriately.
In Part 2, we’ll look at the communication strategies required to tackle difficult conversations, handle conflict, manage collaboration, and build strong durable relationships with colleagues and customers, but it all starts with a growing understanding of your communication strengths and weaknesses and your ability to read other people’s responses.
If sales is the #1 life skill, then confident and congruent communication is the heart of any successful sale – especially if it’s complex and your prospects might be confused about their options and alternatives.
One of the most frequent comments we get at Life Puzzle when we speak or conduct trainings is from people who think they are sales-allergic. We’ll hear things like, “I have never attended a course that had so many applications to my life outside work.” Especially during multi-day trainings we’ll hear accounts of the wonderful conversation they had with their spouse and how they resolved a long-standing dilemma (as well as the surprise sale they closed)… But my favourite story was the woman who arrived for Day 2 of her workplace training absolutely beaming: after five years of marriage, she had used her newfound skills to totally disarm her mother-in-law and get her to cook a delicious dinner rather than complaining about her daughter-in-law’s food.
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