Sales is all about communication. If you don’t fully understand your prospect’s needs, you won’t be able to craft the perfect sales pitch. And if you don’t clearly state how your product or service will help the prospect’s business specifically, they won’t be interested in buying from you. That’s why it’s important to have a wide range of communication skills when approaching both prospects and clients. Here are a few must-have skills, according to Leslie Ye, writing for HubSpot.
Must-Have Communication Skills
Listening is obviously the most important communication skill you can possess. The problem is, as Le points out, too many sales reps are primarily waiting for their turn to reply. Instead, they should be listening to everything a prospect has to say before even considering how they’ll respond. Prospects are also used to this kind of half-baked listening. To stand out from other salespeople, you need to practice active listening. This means that you listen to everything the prospect has to say before verbally confirming that you’ve both heard and understood them. Then you should ask follow-up questions that are relevant to the concerns the prospect just shared with you.
Read Between the Lines
There are a lot of nuances to be found in what’s not being directly said in your conversation with the prospect. For example, your prospect could seem completely on board about signing a contract with you, but for some reason, they still seem hesitant. Why could that be? Well, have they mentioned a third-party decision-maker who may have the final say, such as a manager? Or maybe they’ve mentioned financial concerns earlier on in the sales process. With those details in mind, formulate a response that addresses any unaddressed aspects that could be blocking your sale.
Don’t be a Know-It-All
Conversation will not happen if you come into the meeting acting like you already know everything there is to know about the prospect. Of course, it’s always good to do your homework and come in with a basic idea of how you can help the prospect. However, if you reply to everything the prospect says with, “I know,” or worse, cut them off to do so, any possible conversation will be automatically shut down. That’s why a key communication skill is to take what you know and dig deeper. Listen to what the prospect has to say to confirm your own knowledge and see what else you can find out that can help persuade them further.
You Don’t Always Have to Fill the Silence
Silence can be a good thing in a sales meeting. Unfortunately, many sales reps take silence as a terrible thing 100% of the time. They try to fill the space by repeating the highlights of their pitch or throwing out extra facts that may overwhelm the prospect with information that they don’t need. In reality, your prospects need silence to think. They’re using that time to analyze what has been offered to them. And if you let them have that time to think, it shows that you’re confident enough in your product or service and the way you presented it to let them think it over. Utilize silence. Don’t fear it or fill it.