Everything we do is comprised of communications, and selling is no exception.
The better you understand the principles of communication and apply them in your sales activities, the more effective and successful you will become. Selling is not merely talking, in fact, the words you say are the most insignificant aspect of the process. The words you speak comprise only seven percent of the communication process. The way you speak the words, the emotion behind what you say, encompasses a resounding thirty-eight percent of the communication model. Far and away the most important aspect of communication has nothing to do with the words you say or how you say them. The visual aspect of communication, what people see, is a resounding fifty-five percent of the communication process. Nothing could be more truthful than the often-heard statement, “your appearance speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you say.” Long before you even open your mouth, the prospect is forming opinions and making judgments based on what he sees, not what he hears.
The visual aspect of communications is also vitally important in presenting the value of your product or service as a solution to the prospect’s needs. The spoken word pales in comparison to the visual impact you can create in your presentation. Show the product in pictures, video or real life encounters. Let them experience the reality combined with their imagination of what your product can do for them. To take this characteristic of communication to the fullest extent, find a way to involve them not only visually, but also physically with your product or service. Physical involvement boosts the impact of the communications process to an incredible seventy-two percent. You are familiar with the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, but I would suggest that “physical involvement is worth a million words.” Whenever possible, create opportunities for your prospects to experience your products, not just hearing about them.
One of the most critical aspects of communications has nothing to do with the words you speak, how you say them or even the visual and tangible element. What I’m referring to is the most often neglected aspect of the communication process, and yet it has a profound influence on the outcome of the process. I’m referring to the principle of true listening. In its simplest form, listening requires not speaking. It is impossible to listen when you are speaking, it can’t be done. You can’t listen if you are not totally focused on the other person. Listening requires that you see, hear and feel what the other person is saying. When you truly listen to someone, you feel their emotion, not just hear the sound of their words. When you visually comprehend their meaning, you begin to understand their intent. Too often, salespeople are so focused on communicating their message that they forget to listen for the needs, wants and desires of their prospects. They become very good at one side of a two-sided equation. In reality, listening is far more important in the communication process that speaking.
Here are eight elements of communication to remember and incorporate in your sales process:
- Your visual impression will speak louder than all of your words.
- Create emotion through your choice of words and how you say them.
- True communication is multi-faceted. It involves words, sight, sounds, emotion and listening. Use all aspects to be the most effective.
- A personal or “hands-on” experience has greater impact than even the visual aspect of communication.
- Listening intently to your prospects is a significant part of the communication process.
- Add sizzle to your presentation through the use of visual aids.
- Remember, communication is a two-way street that involves more listening than speaking.
- Listening should precede speaking during the presentation.