Category Archives: Sales skills:non-verbals & buying signals

In selling, sometimes the best thing to say is nothing . . . just listen, then work from what you hear

Sales tip: silence is one of the essential communication skills . . . and a powerful selling skill, as well.

When you're in the 1-1 selling face-to-face mode, non-verbals can be just as significant—and telling–as words.

Think of the questions you ask in a sales call as seeds. It's crucial to give the questions time to grow, and the power of silence gives that time. After you ask, be silent, even if it means letting the silence hang in the air. That gives the prospect time to think and respond.

Ask a question, then let it "grow" in the silence and listen closely to the response. In some cases, you'll need to rephrase the question so it's clearer, or to focus the Decision Maker's response so it's more on target.

But those are exceptions. As a rule, once you've asked the question, bite your tongue and let the prospect talk. Listening well is at least as important a communication skill as speaking confidently.

There are other good reasons to ask fewer questions and allow more silence: constant interruptions to ask new questions may irritate the prospect.

Besides, if you let the prospect go at her own pace, and in the general direction she thinks best, you may find other potential needs opening up in ways that you wouldn't have anticipated.

Above all, don't be so busy asking questions (and thinking of what your next questions will be) that you neglect to listen to the answers you do get.  That's another benefit of the power of silence: silence gives you time not just to listen, but also time to think ahead.

Non-verbal communication tips

There seems to be particular interest in the topic of using and reading  body language –non-verbal communications — so here's more.

In the Harvard Business School HBR Blog Network,  Prof. Amy Cuddy (of HBR) wrote a blog item entitled Want to Lean In? Try a Power Pose – Amy J.C. Cuddy – Harvard Business Review, which relates to her TED talk, the link to which she cites in the article.  That runs about a half-hour, as I recall, and the title and link is Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

NOTE: I started this post intending it for my blog SellingFaceToFace.com (Link here ) but realize it's equally relevant to another of my blogs, CareerSuccessHow-to.com ( Link here ) so will be dual posting in both places.

Now that I think of it, I'll probably be doing more dual posting on topics like this, such as using and reading body language, as career success how-to and the skills relating to selling and selling face to face are often very much intertwined.

 

Non-verbal communication skills: free book sample from PROFESSIONAL SALES PRESENTATIONS & DEMONSTRATIONS

The term, “Non-verbal communication skills” has been getting a number of hits lately on this blog, so I thought it would be a good time to put up a sample on using body language in the sales call (particularly when making presentations or demonstrations) from my little book, SALES PRESENTATIONS & DEMONSTRATIONS.

Today, in this post, for reasons of space I’ll be pulling only a short section from Part Three.  I hope the visuals on non-verbal movements  and subtle communication tips come through

Continue reading Non-verbal communication skills: free book sample from PROFESSIONAL SALES PRESENTATIONS & DEMONSTRATIONS

5 steps in responding to sales objections and questions

This five-step model approach in responding to objections and questions: Explore, Listen Well, Restate (if appropriate), Respond, then Move on.

1.    Explore. Ask questions to get the person talking about what they really mean by the objection, and why it's important to them.  (Why do you feel that way? will do if nothing better comes to mind.)

2.    Listen well to their response.  You may have heard this objection a dozen times already this week, but this person may put a different twist on it.  Don't be too quick in cutting off the

Continue reading 5 steps in responding to sales objections and questions

“How ‘Power Poses’ Can Help Your Career”–career tips from the Wall Street Journal

As factors in your career success, it's not just how competent you are, and it's not just about the words you say: no less important are the non-verbal messages you send . . . and read in others.  I cover some of this in my books, but let me recommend "How 'Power Poses' Can Help Your Career"– an excellent article with accompanying video  from the Wall Street Journal.

The article is not–as you might suspect–about being a  phony poseur, but rather about how to pay attention to the body-language and other non-verbal messages you are sending . . . and receiving.

Continue reading “How ‘Power Poses’ Can Help Your Career”–career tips from the Wall Street Journal

Sending sales proposals: key tips

Turns out we need a new roof over the sunroom, so  Susan started calling around for references, then invited contractors in to look it over.  It's not a busy time of the year here, so most came within a week or so.

They all brought ladders and climbed up on the roof, then climbed down and gave us their initial thoughts.  I think we've had five come by now.  One we crossed off almost immediately because of some intangibles.  I'm not really sure why, maybe it was something in his non-verbals. In any case, his price came in close to double the average.

Bear in mind that the estimators dropped by over something like a ten-day span. All but that one I mentioned seemed credible candidates to get our business. 

But then not much happened for several more days; we waited for them to send their estimates.  Now they are finally coming in. But it's hard for us now to put a face with the paper estimate.  Was AlphaBeta Roofing the guy who suggested . . .    Was Aaardvark Roofing the guy who pointed out . . .

On that, these thoughts.

1.  Put your mug shot on your business card, and leave one of those cards  when you make the first call.  Doesn't matter if you're not movie-star handsome or any of that. It's just to help the prospect remember you.  Send another photo business card when you send the proposal (even if that second one is just copied in and attached to the email). 

I first saw photo business cards when I did a couple of consulting projects with Kodak (obviously that was a while back, long before family friend Kodak started the final fall!), and everybody had a photo card.  Even now, when I look at those old cards and  see the faces,a clear memory of the person and how we worked together comes up.

Most of these contractors left us business cards, but generic ones from Staples or Office Depot with their name and maybe an image of a trowel or hammer or ladder– instantly forgettable.

2.  Get that proposal out ASAP.  If you promise "by the weekend," mean it. First, the prospect is paying attention to  your credibility–do you follow through as promised? If you're poky just in getting a one-page estimate off on time, what does that suggest about your follow-through if you get the job?  I've seen neighbors tied up for weeks when the workers leave the materials in the yard and cut off to do another job somewhere.

Another good reason to be fast in sending the proposal: a prospect with a leaky roof may not wait.  By the time  Pokey Joe finally faxes his estimate Speedy Pete may already have gotten the work permit and delivered the shingles.

Yeah, you're busy running around making those sales calls, but maybe it'd be best to pass on one of those calls at the end of each day and use that time more productively. 

Just my thoughts from the perspective of a prospect.

Somebody let the Apple out of the bag!

Apple was founded by a Genius, Steve Jobs, and now has emerged the secrets of how Apple trains employees to serve as geniuses (small g, as opposed to capital G for the late Genius-in-chief.)

Now it seems that Apple's sales training manual has emerged. It makes for interesting Ah-ha! moments if you've ever been to an Apple shop:  you'll be rehearing your conversations with the sales folks there.

But, from the perspective of your humble blogger, who has written a good many sales training and interpersonal skills books and courses, it is (a) well done, and (b) not all that unique in content, though (c) the presentation of the ideas and skills seems well done (from the little you can see in the leaked excerpts.)

The core article is in Gizmodo article: Apple's Secret Employee Training Manual.  I've seen parts of picked up by both Slate and the Washington Post.

But Sam Biddle in Gizmodo is most detailed.  I won't repeat, only this: "Selling is a science, summed up by five cute letters. (A)pproach. (P)robe. (P)resent. (L)isten. (F)ind."  Not all that different than my concept of the Selling Wedge (in  my book, SELLING 101, and others; pardon the shameless plug!)  The basic concept sounds to my ear an adaptation of Consultative Selling, also covered in SELLING 101 and a good many other sales training books and programs.  (Not that Apple uses the term consultative selling . . . at least not in the parts I've managed to see. But it's there, of that you can be sure.)

The Apple books also gets into nonverbals: things to do and avoid with prospects, as well as how to read what the prospect is "telling" you nonverbally. (Just in case you've missed good stuff on nonverbals, you might check out my little book, SALES PRESENTATIONS & DEMONSTRATIONS

But to have the APPLE acronym to work with! That made memory easy.

And, oh yes,  Apple has good products!  That makes it even easier.

 

My SELLING 101: Essential Selling Skills for Entrepreneurs, Consultants, Free Agents now on Amazon Prime

Amazon has recently upgraded its Kindle software, so what appears on the Kindle comes out  closer to the visual quality and layout of the printed version.

101 Cover new 3rd ed-4x6jpg Small Web viewI took advantage of that opportunity, and cleaned up the electronic typography  of SELLING 101, and at the same time entered it in the Amazon Prime program.  Here's the link:  Selling 101: Essential Selling Skills for Entrepreneurs, Consultants, Free Agents

What Amazon Prime means to you as a reader is that you can borrow it free, from Amazon, for however long you want.  As I understand it, if you're  a Prime member, and own any version of Kindle, you can borrow up to 12 books each year.  Only catch, only one book at a time.

And if you borrow a book and find it so indispensable that you just gotta have it? Just "return" it, virtually, buy it, and borrow another.

If just want to buy Selling 101 in e-format, not borrow it, same link gets you there.

Sales tip: tap the power of silence

Sales tip: silence is one of the essential communication skills . . . and a powerful selling skill, as well.

Think of the questions you ask in a sales call as seeds. It's crucial to give the questions time to grow, and the power of silence gives that time. After you ask, be silent, even if it means letting the silence hang in the air. That gives the prospect time to think and respond.

Ask a question, then let it "grow" in the silence and listen closely to the response. In some cases, you'll need to rephrase the question so it's clearer, or to focus the Decision Maker's response so it's more on target.

But those are exceptions. As a rule, once you've asked the question, bite your tongue and let the prospect talk. Listening well is at least as important a communication skill as speaking confidently.

There are other good reasons to ask fewer questions and allow more silence: constant interruptions to ask new questions may irritate the prospect.

Besides, if you let the prospect go at her own pace, and in the general direction she thinks best, you may find other potential needs opening up in ways that you wouldn't have anticipated.

Above all, don't be so busy asking questions (and thinking of what your next questions will be) that you neglect to listen to the answers you do get.  That's another benefit of the power of silence: silence gives you time not just to listen, but also time to think ahead.