Communicating More Effectively with Customers and Colleagues

Posted on 04/15/2013 in Communication Skills

"To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well."- John Marshall, Supreme Court Chief Justice, 1801-1835 

The Best Salespeople are Good Communicators

Practically speaking, communication skills can be seen as the foundation for all of the other important skills that a salesperson must have to succeed. Over the past 20 years, STAR has asked thousands of sales professionals and sales managers the following question.  Which skills are most critical for a salesperson to succeed?  Many of the answers have varied over the years but a few critical skills and attributes have always been cited and are listed below.

A successful salesperson ...

  • has good communication skills and listens well
  • asks great questions to identify customer’s needs
  • has strong product and market knowledge
  • builds relationships
  • is persistent and good at follow up

Since effective communication is the most fundamental skill, we will provide some tips and guidelines about how to communicate more effectively with customers and colleagues.

Common Mistakes

Here are some of the most common mistakes that salespeople make when communicating with customers and colleagues:

  1. The sales message is not tailored for the recipient. Consequently, it sounds scripted and doesn’t highlight for this customer what your product or service can do for them.
  2. Too much jargon is used. Some jargon is desirable, especially if you want to communicate to the other person that you understand their business or industry. However, be careful not to use jargon that is unique to your company or product.
  3. They speak too long (or write too much). Get to the point. What is most important for this customer or person? Eliminate unnecessary information.
  4. Many sellers are poor listeners. In our experience, this is the number one mistake, yet it is the easiest mistake to fix. Communication is a two-way process. If you (the seller) are doing most of the talking, the sales call is not likely to be successful.
Learn more about our new Communication Skills Workshop for your team. We also offer 1-on-1 coaching if you are interested in improving your personal ability to communicate more effectively.