5 Key Communication Skills for Selling
When you think of a slick salesperson, you probably imagine a well-dressed smooth talker with a charming personality. And there’s a reason we think of these qualities when we think of a successful salesperson, because they work. But you don’t need to be glib in a fancy suit to sell well, you just have to speak confidently.
From nonverbal gestures to spoken words, how you communicate with prospects makes THE difference in closing deals.
Improve your communication skills → Improve your close rate
If you can’t clearly communicate your business’s value add, it doesn’t matter how exceptional your work is, prospects won’t be sold on it. In other words, before you get the chance to flex your expertise, prospects need to be listening. And we have the tools to help. In this article, we breakdown 5 key communication skills for closing deals.
#1. Understand your Audience
The first step to communicating better is understanding who you’re communicating with: your clientele. By understanding your audience, you can identify their pain points and offer your products and services as solutions. This is the wisdom on which contemporary sales and marketing messaging is built upon – demonstrating how your business solves their business problems.
But understanding your audience can have a great impact on the smaller aspects of selling, too. Learning about on the work environments of the verticals you serve will give you a clearer image of how your solutions impact their day-to-day operations, and the conditions under which the need arose in the first place. Additionally, slipping in some of their industry’s jargon in conversation makes you appear knowledgable, so they see you as “one of us,” and opens the door to earnest discussions.
Ways to get audience insights include:
- Market research
- Client interviews
- Industry wide surveys
- Business reports
- LinkedIn network demographics
And our next tip can help you gather insights in real-time.
#2. Practice Active Listening
Good communicators don’t just speak, they listen. Whether you’re trying to better understand your lead’s needs or build a better relationship with an ongoing client, active listening is key.
And it’s straightforward to practice. Be curious, attentive and empathetic. Ask questions, but don’t interrupt. Enter all discussions without judgement.
Some active listening techniques include:
- Maintain eye contact
- Don’t prep your response
- Echo their concerns, ideas, and emotions
- Observe for nonverbal cues
- Ask open-ended questions
If you apply these tips, your interlocutor will feel heard and seen, making them amenable to what you have to say.
#3. Verbal Communication Skills
This is probably what initially comes to mind when you think about communication skills: how well you can speak. And for meetings and calls, conversation is a cornerstone skill.
For the most part, salespeople have a talk track. Maybe you call it a script or a pitch, but whatever you call it, it’s important because it allows you to think about your conversation in advance; it should be concise but nuanced, and focused on your business’s particular value. This will help you resist the urge to ramble, use industry specific jargon, as well as reduce the risk of stammering.
Conversations are a two-way street. Apply your active listening and ask unexpected questions, including about their current vendor relationships. This isn’t just a time to sell, it’s also a time to learn more about what your prospects need.
These skills extend to other forms of communication, like emails and direct messages, which should also be concise, friendly, and open-ended. Each person has different communication preferences, and accommodating those preferences goes a long way in cajoling leads.
#4. Become an Industry Expert
Salespeople need to understand what they are selling.
Business owners who sell, this one probably doesn’t apply to you, but it does apply to other salespeople on your team.
Being an expert in your field allows you to navigate any conversation with ease; you can answer questions, athletically field objections, and overall make the brand look good. You may not be a technical IT expert, but you should know more than your leads.
Too frequently salespeople don’t get what they’re selling, and this can mislead clients, as well as cause internal disputes For the sake of the brand’s reputation, take some time to do more research about your industry and clientele. Get more familiar with the products you sell, and chat with the people who fulfill the services you offer; this will make you a more knowledgable communicator overall.
And if you don’t know something, that’s okay! Be aware of your knowledge gaps and acknowledge them when they come up. People appreciate honesty.
#5. Confidence is Key
Close your eyes and conjure the image of that ideal salesperson. Think of their charisma, their vibrancy, their ease – it’s all confidence.
It’s obvious why confidence is key. You’re not going to persuade anyone if you don’t believe in it yourself, and most of all, if you don’t believe in yourself. Be confident not only in your ability to close, but the in the solutions you are selling. Your confidence will inspire a lead’s trust in you and the brand.
Some ways to appear more confident include:
- Making direct eye contact
- Relaxed and upright posture
- Open body language
- Speaking firmly
- Being comfortable in silence and stillness
Often, confidence is enough to carry you through any conversation. But for some people, it can be difficult to capture, especially if you lack the skills enumerated above. Time and mastery will conquer all insecurities, but self-affirmations can help you along the way.
At OneAffiniti, we help our partners achieve their selling goals through a high-powered marketing program, sponsored by your clients’ favorite vendors. Specializing in lead generation and sales enablement, we help businesses identify and nurture leads with little effort, so you can spend more time closing deals. From monthly email campaigns to thought leadership content, we’ve got your marketing covered. Contact us today to see if you qualify for one of our partner programs.