Personal Selling: Chapter 5

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  • 1. Using Communication Principles to Build Relationships Chapter 5
  • 2. Important Questions Answered What are the basic elements of the communication process? Why are listening and questioning skills important? How can salespeople develop listening skills to collect information about customers? How do people communicate without using words? What are the barriers to effective communication? 2
  • 3. “Being able to communicate and dialogue with my customers is the key to being an effective salesperson.” ~Brad Englin
  • 4. Communication Exchange of information: the exchange of information between people, e.g. by means of speaking, writing, or using a common system of signs or behavior Message: a spoken or written message Act of communicating: the communicating of information Rapport: a sense of mutual understanding and sympathy Access: a means of access or communication, e.g. a connecting door 4
  • 5. Building Relationships Through Two- way Communications Open and honest communications are a key to building trust and developing successful relationships. Here one needs to understand  The communication process  Communication breakdowns  Communication methods 5
  • 6. Two-way CommunicationSalesperson 6
  • 7. Two-Way Flow of Information The sender The receiver (seller) encodes (buyer) decodes a message. the message. Who then becomes… Who then becomes… The receiver The sender (seller) then (buyer) who decodes the encodes a reply buyer’s message. message.
  • 8. The Communication Process The process begins when the sender (sales person or customer) wants to communicate some thoughts or ideas. Because the receiver cannot read the senders mind, the sender must translate these ideas into words. Translating of thoughts into words is called encoding. Then the receiver must decode the message and try to understand what the sender intended to communicate. Decoding involves interpreting the meaning of the received message 8
  • 9. Communication Breakdowns When the message does not reach the receiver correctly due to noise and/or the presence of any other factor (s) like inability of the receiver to decode.  Encoding and decoding problems  The environment in which the communications occur Speaker Listener BARRIER Psychological barrier or filter 9 BARRIER Psychological barrier or filter
  • 10. Barriers To Communication Which May Kill a Sale 10
  • 11. Communication Methods Communication Methods are  verbal  Nonverbal Usually successful when it is interactively (a function of time between sending a message and receiving its response) done. 11
  • 12. Sending Verbal Messages Effective use of words  Characteristics of words  Using effective words  Painting word picture  Tailoring words to the customer 12
  • 13. Characteristics of words Words can be either abstract or concrete as well as emotional or neutral. Concrete, fact-oriented words and expressions usually convey more information and are less likely to be misinterpreted than are abstract, conceptual words. 13
  • 14. Using effective words Words are tools. Word artists have the power to be soft and appealing or strong and powerful. They can use short words and phrases to demonstrate strength and force or to provide charm and grace Words in sales presentations should have strength and descriptive quality. Every salesperson should be able to draw on a set of words to help present the features of a product or service. 14
  • 15. Using Positive Rather Than Negative WordsDont Say Do SayCost or price InvestmentDown Payment Initial investmentContract Agreement or paperworkBuy OwnSell Get involvedSign Okay, approve or authorise (cont’d) 15
  • 16. Using Positive Rather Than Negative Words (cont’d)Dont Say Do SayDeal OpportunityProblem ChallengeObjection Area of concernCustomer People, companies we serveCheaper More economicalAppointment VisitProspect Future clientCommission Fee for service 16 Source: Francy Blackwood, “Back to Basics,” Selling, April 1996, p.39
  • 17. Painting word picture Salespeople can use word pictures to help customers understand the benefits of a product or a feature of the product. A word picture is a story designed to help the buyer visualize a point. To use a word picture effectively, the salesperson needs to paint as accurate and reliable a picture as possible. No attempt at puffery should be made. Word pictures should be honest attempts to help the buyer accurately visualize the situation. 17
  • 18. Tailoring words to the customer Customers can have different styles of communicating. Some people may be very visual; others may prefer an auditory communication mode; and still others com­municate in a feeling mode. Salespeople need to adapt their word choices to the customers preferred communication style 18
  • 19. Voice characteristics A salespersons delivery of words affects how the customer will understand and evaluate his or her presentations. Poor voice and speech habits make it difficult for customers to understand the salespersons message. Voice characteristics include  Speech rate  Loudness  Inflection  Articulation 19
  • 20. Speech rate Customers have a tendency to question the expertise of salespeople who talk slower or faster than the normal rate of 140 words per minute. Salespeople who talk faster or slower than the normal rate should consciously try to slow down or speed up when first meeting a customer and then gradually return to their normal rate. Salespeople should also vary their rate of speech, depending on the nature of the message and the environment in which the communication occurs 20
  • 21. Loudness Loudness should also be tailored to the communication situation. To avoid monotony, salespeople should learn to vary the loudness of their speech. Loudness can also be used to emphasize certain parts of the sales presentation, indicating to the customer that these parts are more important. Salespeople should use customer reactions to determine the appropriate loudness 21
  • 22. Inflection Inflection is the tone of speech. At the end of a sentence, the tone should decrease, indicating the completion of a thought. When the tone goes up at the end of a sentence, listeners often sense uncertainty in the speaker. 22
  • 23. Articulation Articulation refers to the production of recognizable sounds. Poor articulation has three common causes  locked jaw  lazy lips  lazy tongue. 23
  • 24. Asking questions Asking questions is a critical element in effective verbal communications  Encourage full responses  Space out your questions  Ask short, simple questions  Avoid leading questions  Questions to collect information  Questions to maintain the flow of information 24
  • 25. Encourage full responses Closed-ended questions can be answered with a word or short phrase. Such questions draw little information from the customer. Open-ended questions, questions for which there are no simple answers, encourage greater communication. 25
  • 26. QuestionsClosed-Ended Open-EndedQuestions QuestionsAre you interested in Why havent you boughtbuying laptop laptop computers forcomputers for your your sales force?sales force?Are you satisfied with What problems are youyour present supplier having with yourfor aluminum cans? present supplier of aluminum cans? 26
  • 27. Space out your questions When salespeople ask several questions, one right after another, customers may feel threatened. They may think they are being interrogated rather than partici­pating in a conversation. Some customers react by disclosing less rather than more information. For this reason, questions should be spaced out so the cus­tomer has time to answer each question in a relaxed atmosphere. 27
  • 28. Ask short, simple questions Questions that have two or more parts should be avoided. The customer may not know which part to answer, and the salesperson may not know which part has been answered. Long questions are hard to remember and to answer 28
  • 29. Avoid leading questions Questions should not suggest an appropriate answer. Such questions may put words into the customers mouth rather than drawing out what the customer actually thinks 29
  • 30. Questions to collect information Questions used to collect information usually start with the word who, what, where, how, or why. Responses to these questions give the salesperson a better understanding of the prospect, the prospects business, and the present competi­tion. It is best to start by asking for publicly available information; such questions are the easiest to answer 30
  • 31. Questions to maintain the flow of information A good way to maintain the flow of information is to offer verbal and nonverbal encouragement, such as saying, Really? Thats interesting, and Is that so? and nodding your head. Another approach for maintaining the flow of information is to make positive requests for additional information. The third type of approach for maintaining the flow of information is to make neutral statements that reaffirm or repeat a customers comment or emotion 31
  • 32. Active listening Effective listeners actively think while they listen. They think about the conclu­sions toward which the speaker is building, evaluate the evidence being presented, and sort out important facts from irrelevant ones. Active listening also means the listener attempts to draw out as much information as possible. Gestures can moti­vate a person to continue talking Speaking-listening differential 80-20 listening rule People can speak at a Salespeople should rate of only 120-160 listen 80 percent of the words per minute, but time and talk no more they can listen to more than 20 percent of the than 800 words per time. minute. 32
  • 33. Suggestions for active listening Repeating information Restating or rephrasing information Clarifying information Summarizing the conversation Tolerating silences concentrating on the ideas being communicated. 33
  • 34. Repeating information During a sales interaction the salesperson should verify the information she or he is collecting from the customer. A useful way to verify information is to repeat, word for word, what has been said. This technique minimizes the chance of misunderstandings Salespeople need to be careful when using this technique, however. Customers can get irritated with salespeople who echo everything 34
  • 35. Restating or rephrasing information To verify a customers intent, salespeople should restate the customers comment in their own words. This step ensures that the salesperson and customer under­stand each other. 35
  • 36. Clarifying information Another way to verify a customers meaning is to ask questions designed to obtain additional information. These can give a more complete understanding of the customers concerns. 36
  • 37. Summarizing the Conversation An important element of active listening is to mentally summarize points that have been made. At critical spots in the sales presentation, the salesperson should present his or her mentally prepared summary. Summarizing provides both salesperson and customer with a quick overview of what has taken place and lets them focus on the issues that have been discussed. Summarizing also lets the salesperson change the direction of the conversation. 37
  • 38. Tolerating silences This technique could more appropriately be titled "Bite your tongue." At times during a sales presentation, a customer needs time to think. While the customer is thinking, periods of silence occur. Salespeople may be uncomfortable during these silences and feel they need to say something. How­ ever, the customer cannot think when the salesperson is talking. By tolerating silences, salespeople give customers a chance to sell themselves. 38
  • 39. concentrating on the ideas being communicated Frequently what customers say and how they say it can distract salespeople from the ideas the customers are actually trying to communicate. For example, sales­people may react strongly when customers use emotion-laden phrases such as bad service or lousy product. Rather than getting angry, the salesperson should try to find out what upset the customer so much. Salespeople should listen to the words from the customers viewpoint instead of reacting from their own view­point. 39
  • 40. Reading Nonverbal Messages from Customers salespeople can learn a lot from their customers nonverbal behaviors.  Body language  Space  Appearance 40
  • 41. Body language Customers provide a lot of information through their body language. The ele­ments of body language are  Body angle  Face  Arms  Hands  LegsPositive Power and authority Underlying tension 41
  • 42. Positive and Negative Signals 42
  • 43. Sending Messages with Nonverbal Communication Using body language Face Eye contact Hand movement Posture and body movements Matching the customer’s communication style 43
  • 44. The role of space and physical contact in communication The physical space between a customer and a salesperson can affect the cus­tomers reaction to a sales presentation.  Distance During Interactions  Touching 44
  • 45. Distance During Interactions The intimate zone is reserved primarily for a persons closest relationships; the personal zone for close friends and those who share special interests; the social zone for business transactions and other impersonal relationships; and the public zone for speeches, teachers in class­ rooms, and passersby The exact sizes of the intimate and personal zones depend on age, gender, culture, and race 45
  • 46. Distance Zones for Interactions 46
  • 47. Office Arrangements and Territorial Space 47
  • 48. Concept of space Territorial space Intimate space – 2 feet Personal space – 2 to 4 feet Social space – 4 to 6 feet Public space – 12+ feet Space threats – too close Space invasion – OK to be close 48
  • 49. TOUCHING People fall into two touching groups  Contact Contact people usually see non-contact people as cold and unfriendly.  Non-contact non-contact people view contact people as overly friendly and obtrusive. Salespeople should limit touching to a handshake. Touching clearly enters a customers intimate space and may be considered rude and threatening an invasion 49
  • 50. Appearance Physical appearance, specifically dress style, is an aspect of nonverbal communication that affects the customers evaluation of the salesperson. Two priorities in dressing for business are getting customers to notice you in a positive way getting customers to trust you. 50
  • 51. Guidelines for Appearance Consider the geography The temperature The local cultural norms Consider your customers Their appearance Their expectations of your appearance Consider your corporate culture Norms for your industry Consider your aspirations Top levels of your organization Dress above your position Consider your own personal style Wait until you have the halo effect Be reasonable 51
  • 52. Communicating via technology Face-to-face conversation  40 percent: words  10 percent: voice characteristics  50 percent: nonverbal communications  Telephone  Practice  Prepare  Don’t be rushed  Smile as you talk  Active listening  Set objective 52
  • 53. Communicating In A High-Technology Environment Accept the need to communicate through electronic media. Learn the customer’s preferences. Avoid “techno overkill”. Make the communication meaningful Customise your message. Use speed to impress customers speed. Don’t deliver bad news via e-mail. Use short clear sentences when communicating internationally. 53
  • 54. Comparison of Various Methods of Salesperson Communications 7.54
  • 55. Adjusting for Cultural DifferencesIn international selling situations, salespeople need torecognize that business practices differ around the world  Use of Language  Time and Scheduling  Body language Low-context cultures High-context cultures Most of the information More information is that flows between contained in factors buyer and seller is in the surrounding the spoken words communication. themselves. 55
  • 56. Differences BetweenHigh- and Low-Context Cultures 7.56
  • 57. Use of Language Communication in international selling often takes place in English because Eng­lish is likely to be the only language salespeople and customers have in common. To communicate effectively with customers whose native language is not English, salespeople need to be careful about the words and expressions they use 57
  • 58. Tips to use English in international selling Use common English words, e.g. stop instead of cease. Use words that do not have multiple meanings. Avoid American slang expressions. Use strict rules of grammar. Use action-specific verbs. Never use vulgar expressions, tell off-color jokes, or make religious references. 58
  • 59. Time and Scheduling International salespeople need to understand the varying perceptions of time in general and the time it takes for business activities to occur in different countries. For example, in Latin American and Arab countries people are not strict about keeping appointments at the designated times. If you show up for an appoint­ment on time in these cultures, you may have to wait several hours for the meet­ ing to start. 59
  • 60. Body language Gestures and body language can have different meanings across the globe. For example, the thumbs-up gesture is considered offensive in the Middle East, rude in Australia, and a sign of OK in France. Its rude to cross your arms in Turkey. Crossing your feet and showing the bottoms of your shoe soles is insulting in Japan. 60
  • 61. Summary The communication process consists of a sender, who encodes information and transmits messages, and a receiver, who decodes the messages. Effective communication requires a two-way flow of information. When communicating verbally with customers, salespeople must be careful to use words and expressions their customers will understand. Listening is a valuable communication skill that enables salespeople to adapt to various situations. About 50 percent of communication is nonverbal. Salespeople can use nonverbal communication to convey information to customers. Two-way communication increases when salespeople adjust their communication styles to the styles of their 7.61
  • 62. End of Chapter 5
  • 63. Thank you