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Key Communication Skills for Sales Professionals

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  • 0:03 Communication in Sales
  • 1:03 Important Skills
  • 3:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Communication skills can be a deal breaker for sales professionals and their customers. In this lesson, you'll learn more about some key communication skills that will set a great sales professional apart.

Communication in Sales

Imagine for a minute that you've gone out on a Saturday morning to buy a new car. You get to the car lot and are greeted by a salesperson. However, they don't introduce themselves or shake your hand. They walk ahead of you on the lot, pointing out cars well over your budget and never stop to ask what you're looking for. Also, they clearly haven't been listening to what you've said in your five to ten minutes of following them from car to car. They talk so quickly you can barely understand what they're saying, they keep looking at their watch, and eventually they leave you standing in a sea of cars while they jog off to answer a personal phone call.

This car salesperson is sorely lacking in key communication skills that will help them endear themselves to the customer, figure out what the customer is looking for, find what the customer is looking for, and then make a connection that leads to a satisfied new car owner and a happy, commission-earning salesperson.

Sales success is rooted in the ability to be a good communicator. In fact, it can often mean the difference between making the sale and walking away empty-handed. Being a good communicator means focusing on a few skills that will help you better connect with customers, deliver the needed information, and close the deal.

Important Skills

Let's take a look at a few of the common-sense skills sales professionals should utilize when communicating with their customers:

Practice Mirroring

We'll start with one that you may or may not have heard of, and that's mirroring. Mirroring is a form of mimicry where one person uses the same speech and body language as the person they're dealing with in order to build a rapport with them. If they're being laid-back and chatty, you should be casual as well. If they are all business, you should get straight to the point with a no-nonsense approach. Mirroring builds trust, eases tension, develops rapport, and makes the other person more comfortable because they see in you what they're feeling themselves.

Focus on Speech

Speech is another important skill. So much goes into the idea of speech when you're talking with a potential customer, everything from the speed in which you talk to your volume, tone, and clarity. While mirroring is an effective tool for your speed, volume, and clarity, speaking clearly is an overlooked key ingredient.

When you speak too quickly - whether you're nervous, eager to get home, or that's just how you talk - you can make the customer feel hurried or pressured to make a decision before they're ready. Many times, if a salesperson's speech isn't clear, the customer will become frustrated, tune out, or leave altogether. Spend some time working on your speech by practicing in front of a mirror, reading aloud, or working with a speech coach.

Be Solution-Focused

In addition, sales professionals need to be solution-focused. When a customer comes to you, they're doing so because they have a problem they need you to solve. While small talk can help break the ice, your number one goal should be to dig deep and find out what needs or challenges the customer has and match your products or services as solutions.

Maintain Eye Contact

Although it can be hard, and even intimidating, it is critical to maintain eye contact with the customer during communication. Experts agree that maintaining eye contact is important because it makes you appear confident and causes your customer to trust you more.

Imagine sitting in a sales presentation where the salesperson is looking everywhere in the room except at you. You'd probably think they were lying or uninterested, wouldn't you? Eye contact also shows that you're engaged in the sale. Just be careful that your eye contact doesn't turn into staring, which may make your potential customer really uncomfortable.

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