Developing Effective Communication for Sales People

We all know that the way we speak, the way we move and look affects the way others respond to us.  Confidence in our approach is critical to a successful interaction, and indeed a SALE.

93% of communication is non verbal.  This means that only 7% of what we say is what is understood, so non verbal communication is the single most powerful form of communication. It also means that more than voice or even words, nonverbal communication gives you cues as to what the other person is thinking and feeling.  Nonverbal communication includes use of space, facial expression, appearance and body language.

Let us consider non verbal communication in a sales environment. 

SPACE Firstly, space considerations are important for sales people to consider as violations of territorial space without consent may trigger the customer’s defence mechanisms and create a barrier to effective communications, and therefore the sale.

As a general rule, there are four main types of distances to consider.  1. Intimate (up to 2 feet), 2. Personal (2 to 4 feet), 3. Social (4 to 12 feet) and 4, Public (greater than 12 feet). Intimate space of up to 2 feet, or about arm’s length, is the most sensitive zone, as this is considered reserved for close friends and loved ones. To enter the intimate space in the buyer-seller relationship, for some people, may be socially unacceptable or even offensive. Social space is the area normally used for a sales pitch. Standing while facing a seated prospective buyer may potentially communicate to the buyer that the salesperson seems too dominating. This suggests then that the salesperson should normally stay seated to convey a relaxed manner.

APPEARANCE Appearance is also a factor of non verbal communication.  Appropriate dress is an important factor in developing a perception of the sales person.  Common sense prevails in that a smart and clean appearance projects efficiency. The important objective is to eliminate communication barriers.

BODY MOVEMENTS Other nonverbal communication channels are body movements. Body movements or body language generally send three types of messages: (1) acceptance (2) caution and (3) disagreement.

ACCEPTANCE SIGNALS Acceptance signals indicate that your buyer is favourably inclined toward you and your presentation. These signals give you the green light to proceed. Some common acceptance signals include the body angle leaning forward or upright, smiling and pleasant expression, direct eye contact, positive voice tones, relaxed and generally open body language. Acceptance signals therefore indicate that the buyers perceive that your product might meet their needs. You have obtained their attention and interest and it is then you are able to continue your planned sales pitch.

CAUTION SIGNALS Some caution signals that should alert you that buyers are either sceptical or neutral toward you are body angle leaning away from you, a puzzled, or indeed no facial expression, no eye contact or eyes looking away from you, a questioning tone of voice and  negative body language such as arms and legs tensely crossed or fidgeting.

WHAT TO DO To manage this, a sales person needs to consider a number of actions. Firstly, it is recommended that they adjust to the situation by slowing down or departing from the standard or planned sales pitch. Secondly, the use of open ended questions will encourage buyers to talk and express their attitudes and beliefs. Thirdly, it is important to listen carefully to what buyers are actually saying, and respond directly. Finally, demonstrate that you have understood what your buyer is saying.   Be positive, enthusiastic, and smile. Your objective in using these techniques is to change your buyers caution signals a go ahead signal.  SUMMARY In summary, it is important to remember these four nonverbal communication channels, seller/buyer space, general appearance, the handshake, and body movement. Effective communication is essential in making a sale. Nonverbal communication signals are an important part of the total communication process between buyer and seller. Professional sales people seek to learn and understand nonverbal communication to increase their sales success. Give them a try.

Flourish Coaching provides group or 1:1 communication strategy programs.

Please call on 0879178717 / or visit our website www.flourishcoaching.ie for more information Thank You © Flourish Coaching 2009

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