By Keith Rosen, MCC
The Executive Sales Coach TM
If you can eliminate communication breakdowns between yourself and your clients, the result will be more sales and fewer headaches.
Breakdowns occur when the meaning communicated by one party is not properly understood by the other. Here are four easy steps that will assist you to clarify your clients’ wants, needs, and expectations.
- Ask Questions.
Assume that you have no idea what the client really wants. The only way to uncover their needs is to ask questions. Here are some helpful questions to guide you to a better understanding of your clients:
- What results are you looking to achieve?
- What is most important to you? Why?
- If you could eliminate three of your biggest problems or headaches, what would they be?
- What factors do you consider when choosing a vendor?”
- Process the Information.
Listen carefully to their response. Never interrupt a client. I know it’s hard to stay quiet, but remember that you won’t learn anything helpful by listening to yourself talk.
- Interpret the Information.
What is it they are actually saying? If you are unclear on their meaning, pose more questions or ask for further clarification. In this way, you demonstrate a genuine concern to understand precisely what it is that they shared with you.
- Confirm the Information.
Summarize what they have shared with you, and then respond with a question to confirm your comprehension.
- Begin with, ”So what you are looking for is …” or ”What I’m hearing is …”
- Then follow up with, ”Is that correct?”
Conversely, if and when you check to see if your communication was clear, you may ask questions like, ”Do you understand?” or ”Does that make sense?”
Instead of putting the burden of your message’s meaning on the other person, take on that responsibility yourself and ask the following questions to determine if what you said was understood:
- Is there anything that you would like me to review with you in more detail?
- What stands out as important to you?
- What do you see as the next step?
When asking these questions, remember to maintain a neutral tone. You want to be neither too edgy nor condescending.
To communicate more effectively, make sure it’s not the other person’s responsibility to interpret your intended meaning from your comments, questions, and presentations. It’s your job to be understood.
The real function of communication is the response that you receive. What the person hears, perceives, and understands always takes precedent over what you say.
When you verify whether you communicated clearly and understood accurately, the client will feel comfortable with you and with the decision making process; they will trust their relationship with you, because they are dealing with a sales professional who takes the time to understand what they really want. This will enable you to fill your client’s exact needs and best service them the first time around, preventing costly mistakes due to faulty communication.
Imagine never again hearing, ”This is not what I expected.” Instead, you’ll be hearing the words that would make anyone smile: ”That’s exactly what I wanted.”
About Keith Rosen, MCC — The Executive Sales Coach
Keith Rosen is the executive sales coach that top corporations, executives, and sales professionals call first. As an engaging speaker, Master Coach, and well-known author of many books and articles, Keith is one of the foremost authorities on coaching people to achieve positive change in their attitude, behavior, and results. For his work as a pioneer and leader in the coaching profession, Inc. magazine and Fast Company named Keith one of the five most respected and influential executive coaches in the country.
If you’re ready for better results quickly, contact Keith about personal or team coaching and training at 1-888-262-2450 or e-mail email@example.com. Visit Keith Rosen online at Profit Builders and be sure to sign up for his free newsletter The Winners Path.