In my lifetime, I was fired quite a few times before getting my degree, and was laid off three times after. I know that I was often fired because of poor communication skills. I learned; I built my character; I survived.
By the time I got my most recent job, at Nestlé, I had made many mistakes, and had not had the communications training I needed to survive and thrive. I had never worked at a really big corporation before, and definitely got the education I needed.
The biggest lesson I learned was how to keep my mouth shut. When I did need to talk, I learned that great communication depends on 4 essential components: what you say, how you say it, when you say it and to whom you say it. Think about the best way for the recipient to receive your message.
While at Nestlé, we were encouraged to take personal development classes and I took as many as I could. Often, we put ourselves into groups, quadrants or types (like directive or avoider), then we worked on how best to communicate with people of different types.
If you will take the time to notice, you will see that people in particular professions sometimes have a lot in common including communication styles. This is true in a corporate environment and certainly it is true for entrepreneurs. CPAs are different than wedding planners are different than acupuncturists.
When communicating with someone in a certain profession or industry, you can often make a positive impression more easily by using languaging using words that they commonly use. So when communicating with a healer, you can use words like diagnose, prognosis, treatment, etc., in your sales pitch. This makes a sometimes subconscious emotional connection with them. They connect with you and they may not even know why!
When creating a sales script or sales meeting agenda, keep languaging in mind. This becomes second nature if you market to a specific target you get to know the people in your target very well, making the emotional connection easier and easier.
When networking, good communication skills can really advance your progress. The point of networking is to build relationships either with direct prospects or referral sources. The most critical skill to cultivate is listening.
When people first meet you, they really don’t care about you, only what you can do for them. They will often tell you in the first 2 minutes whether they could use your services, suck the life out of you or be a good prospect for a strategic alliance.
Also, by asking them for their information first, you can customize what you tell them when it’s your turn. If you find that they are not someone you want to get to know better (sometimes you really can tell immediately), get out of there! Don’t waste any more time with them. You can always claim you have to go to the bathroom or make a call.
Finally, while it should be a given, look them in the eye, give a firm handshake, ask for their business card and smile!
In all your marketing strategies, your goal is typically for the prospect to listen to your sales pitch. If we are unable to get the relationship started, we can’t get the yes’, and the faster the relationship can be established, using great communications skills, the faster we can get the YES!
Copyright (c) 2007 Audrey Burton