A gifted salesperson could persuade you to buy a fork when all you needed was a spoon. But they don’t get their way by black magic. The way a salesperson communicates – and listens – to her audience helps her to take control of the situation, and dictate the outcome, without you ever being the wiser.
Of course, the misconception is that a talented salesperson is, in fact a gift. It’s not. Salespeople are not born; they’re made. And at the crux of a salesperson’s success is his persuasive communication skills. Any salesperson can speak volumes about the number of heated discussions, hang-ups, slammed doors and insults thrown their way as they made their pitch. Yet somehow, sales still happen. Conversions are made. Salespeople get the job done and live to see another day.
Learning how to become a persuasive communicator – and a better salesperson
Before we discuss how to become a persuasive communicator, it’s important to tear down the misconceptions of “sales.” First and foremost, the techniques we discuss below are, of course, beneficial to the bonafide salesperson. However, you don’t have to have that formal title in order to fall under the auspices of salesman. Throughout New Zealand, Australia, and North America, we all sell – or at least try to sell – something throughout the course of the day. Just take a look at the following examples:
- A spouse sells you on the idea of spending money on a new car
- An employee sells the idea of a raise to her boss
- A child sells the idea of a new dog for the family
- A client pitches himself to a prospect, in order to get new work
We’re constantly selling and being sold to, meaning that knowing how to become a persuasive communicator isn’t just a skill for the official “salesperson.” We all can benefit from these skills.
Set your intention
While communication is at the crux of being able to get what you want (which is the foundation of sales), you need to know your goal or objective before you even open your mouth. So, before you set out to convince someone to do, feel, or believe something, how will you know that you succeeded? In other words, what is your intended result?
So many people communicate without knowing what they want to achieve. A good example is a parent who finds drugs hidden away in a child’s schoolbag. The parent immediately confronts the child, without first considering the best approach for the desired result. What’s the parent’s intention? Is it to punish the child? Is it to prevent this behavior again? Is it to find out where the drugs came from? Is it to offer support? Is it a combination of all these potentials?
Professionally speaking, this is akin to a salesperson being told by his boss that he must increase sales. In response to this, the salesperson leafs through his contact list and starts making calls, without ever considering what it is he wants to achieve, and what the best course of action may be.
Set you mood
No matter how reserved you may be, you wear your heart on your sleeve. If you enter a conversation with a chip on your shoulder (perhaps you got in a minor accident earlier in the day), the way you communicate will be affected. This doesn’t just mean the words you speak will be altered. Communication also involves body language, the speed of your delivery, and the tone of your voice.
Your audience will react and respond to your emotions. If you come into a conversation with anger, it’ll be difficult to persuade your audience to get excited or interested in what you have to sell.
Before you begin to communicate, set your mood. Clear away any ill thoughts that haunt you. Take deep breaths and put yourself in the shoes of your audience. How would you want to be confronted if you were on the other end of this conversation?
Be understanding & empathetic
No matter what type of selling you’re trying to achieve (be it something in your personal or professional life, a service, an idea, etc.), you won’t get your way unless you’re able to make your audience feel worthwhile. Sure, you want the sale to go through for your own personal gain. But how does that help your audience? It doesn’t.
The most effective salespeople throughout New Zealand, Australia and North America know how to connect to their audience. They know how to make the people they sell to feel significant and important. Often times, managers believe that the only thing needed to motivate employees is financial gain. But studies have shown that what truly motivates people is feeling significant and appreciated.
A salesperson’s job is to make this happen. If a salesperson can connect to his audience on a personal level, he’s more likely to be trusted and seen as someone who’s interested in more than just his own personal gain.
We all have the tools to be persuasive communicators
It’s often a marvel how adept some people are at selling their ideas, goods or services. But it’s not like they have access to a secret formula. The tools and approaches used by the world’s most successful salespeople are accessible to every person. It takes more than knowing the tools, however, in order to become an effective persuader. You have to be willing to take the time to hone and develop your skills and mindset, so that persuasive communication becomes nearly second nature to you. Seminars and workshops held by AACT-Now (throughout New Zealand, Australia and North America) are designed to help individuals and organizations learn – and sharpen – the skills necessary to become more effective persuaders.
Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/00dann/
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