Barriers to Effective Communication in Sales…and What to Do About It!

Posted on 09/24/2014 in Communication Skills

You cannot succeed in sales if you don’t communicate clearly and persuasively.   Although technology has improved dramatically, and sales professionals now have access to many different communication tools and devices, there still are many barriers to effective communication in sales.  In fact, in some cases, the new technology has worsened communication between sellers and customers, because customers prefer to be contacted by email rather than meet with you in person.

Recognizing these barriers, and then either minimizing or eliminating the barriers that affect you the most, will help you to make more sales.

Which of these barriers to communication are hurting your sales efforts?

The sales message is too long, which can manifest itself in all three modes of communication:
  1. A salesperson who talks too much during an in-person sales call.
  2. A rambling voice mail message that irritates the customer.
  3. An email that is too lengthy, such that the customer either doesn’t read all of it or only responds to some of the points.
Poor listening skills.  Whether you are new to sales or a sales veteran, many salespeople simply don’t listen well to the customer.   Based on over 24 years as a sales training consultant, "listening skills” continue to be cited by sales managers as an important area of improvement for many salespeople.

The sales message is not tailored to the customer.  If your sales message sounds scripted, whether in person or over the phone, it creates a negative impression. In addition, if you don’t highlight the benefits – or, if you prefer, the "What’s In It For Me” for the customer – your sales message will quickly become tuned out by the customer.  

Over-use of email and under-use of face to face sales calls. We know that the world of selling has changed, and it is more difficult to get face time with customers.  Email is a critical sales tool but, if you over-use it, you lose the opportunity to view the non-verbals of the customer.  For important sales situations, strive to see the customer in person or, at worse, speak to the customer by phone.

Read more of STAR's communication skills for sales blogs.   STAR Workshops that address the topic of communication in sales include Essential Selling Skills and our Online Series - Essential Selling Skills.