“If you just communicate, you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully, you can work miracles.”
Communication is a valuable skill for salespeople. Even if you’re addressing a small audience — like one or two people in a prospect’s office — having a natural affinity for speaking well can help you better connect with prospective buyers. You’ll appear more relatable rather than overly focused on making a sale.
Jim Anderson of Blue Elephant Consulting says that many professionals inadvertently undermine themselves by how they speak or the body language they use. As a result, their message isn’t as impactful, and their ideas don’t land the way they should.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Anderson’s tips on how salespeople — and all professionals — can step up their communication skills and be seen as powerful speakers.
Eliminate filler words. You’ve probably heard this tip before and for good reason. Filler words such as “just” and “actually” can dilute your message and make you appear less professional. Listen to your language or ask a colleague to listen. Do you say things like, “I just want to add” or “I actually have a question?” If so, work to intentionally get rid of these filler words.
Remember that you’re the expert. When you’re speaking to clients or prospects, don’t say things like, “You know your field better than I do” or “I haven’t researched this much, but …” Anderson says people use these qualifiers because they don’t want to appear arrogant or because they aren’t completely sure about something. However, when you admit that you may say something wrong, you take away the power of your message.
Take your time. You are in charge when you are giving a presentation or pitch, Anderson says, so don’t tell your audience that you are going to “take only a minute” to say something. It’s much more powerful to say something like, “I’d like to tell you about our product.” Take only a minute if that’s all you need but omit the phrase “just a minute” in a talk or presentation. It makes you sound apologetic and implies that you don’t think what you are about to say is worthy of time and attention, Anderson says.
Speak authoritatively. In other words, make sure your statements don’t sound like questions. Anderson notes that speakers often raise the pitch of their voice at the end of a sentence. When you do this, it diminishes the power of what you are saying. Instead, make your statements sound like statements.
Incorporate more pauses. Anderson says that sometimes when people are speaking, they allow clauses to get piled on top of one another. When people are nervous or don’t feel like they’ve earned the right to make a pitch, they tend to rush and never leave a moment to pause. Brief pauses between your sentences connote confidence and a sense of comfort in your role as speaker, Anderson says. Get comfortable with pauses during your sales pitches.
By thinking like public speakers, sales professionals and others can dramatically improve their communication. Remember that you don’t need to be in front of a giant audience to apply the tips above. Whether you’re speaking to a roomful of people or just one other person, the communication pointers above will help you engage your audience and boost your authority as an expert in what you do.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Jim Anderson, the founder and president of Blue Elephant Consulting, has been called the “product doctor” because he shows product teams how to diagnose what’s wrong with their products.