While digital communication and social media so vital to business, have you let your in-person communication fall to the side? Have you become uncomfortable with face-to-face communication and sales calls? Or never even started it? Face-to-face relationship building is vital to grow your business and continue to flourish.
Here are some strategies to strengthen your in-person communication skills that I gathered from our industry magazine, Advantages – Thank you, Christopher Ruvo, for your guidance. These tips will give us an advantage next time we’re out meeting prospects.
- Ditch Technology: put away the devices and focus fully on the person you’re with and what they have to say. “The most powerful relationship building happens when technology isn’t present,” says Colin McLetchie, president of five Ways Forward, a consulting and wellness company. “Keep it out of sight unless it serves a real purpose in the conversation.”
- Adapt to Prospect’s Communication Style: Some prospects want to get to the point and get done quickly. Others are socializers and like a little small talk so they can get more of a feel for you, especially if you haven’t met them at previous networking events. Others may be guarded and methodical. Once you understand the prospect’s communication style, then conform as necessary to allow your prospect to be comfortable with you and respect their time and situation.
- Remove Barriers: Whenever possible, stand or sit with the prospect without barriers like desks and tables. The lack of a barrier brings a feeling of collaboration, rather than competition or pushy selling.
- Lead with Questions: When it’s time to talk business, start by asking questions aimed at discovering a prospect’s interests, needs and goals. Your questions should show a genuine interest and also show your willingness to learn about the prospective client. Don’t start with statements that sound like a canned, one-size-fits-all approach.
- Rephrase the ‘Why’: Avoid asking ‘why’ questions which can put people on the defensive. “Choose ‘what’ or ‘how’ questions to keep the person engaged in the dialogue,” says McLetchi. For example. “why did this happen?” is better phrased as “How did this evolve for your company?”
- Practice Real Listening: Don’t just listen for a break so that you can interject your planned comment or sales pitch. Real listening will give the prospect time to tell her story, then you can speak directly to her most pressing needs. She will then see you’ve actually heard her and will trust you more. When you practice real listening, you will be able to formulate unique insights that help make the best decision. “She is more likely to feel positive about her experience and come to you again.”
- Acknowledge Emotions: Correctly responding to prospects’ emotions helps convey that you truly understand and makes them see you’re on their side. “Most people will respond well to having their difficult emotions acknowledged and will respond with confirmation or clarification.” Says McLetchie. From this, you can ask more questions that help you come up with solutions.
- Allow for Silence: Stay relaxed and quiet while a prospect is thinking. Nervous salespeople rush to fill silence with chatter and answer their own questions. When a response comes, keep from interrupting.
- Pay Close Attention to Nonverbal Cues: Unspoken physical cues can yield important insights into what a client is really thinking. Fidgeting and frequently looking away suggest discomfort and disinterest. Arms folded across the chest indicate resistance. Direct eye contact and head nodding implies they are receptive to what you are saying. Frequent touching of nose and mouth suggests lying….what is your body language suggesting?!
A little more about us:
Primary Source provides businesses, schools, non-profits and organizations with promotional products, decorated apparel, personalized awards plus executive and incentive gifts. We help clients choose the products that will fit their budget and recipients, AND give them RESULTS:
- Increase tradeshow traffic
- Enhance marketing plan
- Boost sales
- Reward employees
- Recognize supporters
- Increase attendance at events
- Promote your brand
- Market you services
- Recruit members
- Support your community or cause
At Primary Source, we want your promotional product choice to bring you the results intended – we are Promotional Products with a Purpose!