Common Pitfalls in Sales Communication

Common pitfallsWhen selecting future sales representatives, managers may often choose the prospect with the best social skills, as this ability can be seen as the primary factor that can determine the success of a salesperson.

A sales manangement team needs to explain to these representatives that while the social skills that they possess may be paramount to their success, they need to be able to listen and not control the conversation during a meeting with a prospective client.

The notion that the representative is there to share a lot of information about their products and services is one that needs to be eliminated immediately. Salespeople need to restrain themselves from making the pitch instantly, and listen to their customers, according to Barrett Riddleberger, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm.

“If you have a business focused mindset, you should be asking questions and listening because you know how to fit your products in with their business issues if you would just take the time to ask the right questions,” the executive noted. “Sales people hate silence – psychologically they hate silence, so they fill gaps with talking, typically because of a lack of confidence.”

Anxiety may lead representatives to use an avalanche of words to avoid using analytical skills to make inferences about the client’s statements and questions, Selling Power reported.

This inclination to speak and share product or service knowledge is more of a cultural trend than anything individual to the representative. Culturally, people tend to listen less and talk more, Riddleberger said.

“Listening is actually a skill that must be developed just like playing the piano, and a lot of people never develop this skill,” said the executive. “Listening means being able to understand what was being said, analyze what was being said, being able to read inferences, subtleties, nuances, through tone and body language and gestures and inflection and word choice.”

People tend to skip over a large portion of what the other individual has said, as they are trying to determine what to say next. Pausing and thinking after the buyer has shared their concerns may give the representative more time to analyze their next moves, according to Riddleberger.

“Listening is a lost art which causes sales people to just ramble on,” said the executive.