COMMUNICATES: Understands and is understood with ease by Customer

COMMUNICATES: Understands and is understood with ease by Customer

“HIM’” it was called – Huddle in the Middle. And the Sales Managers of Cornucopia Home Appliances (CHA) loved them.

These were 5 minute mid week interactions with their Sales Director, Suman

“Let’s talk about Coaching for Sales Success in this week’s HIM” announced Suman on the call “Every salesperson needs a coach. And you are the best choice for that role. Agree?”

“Yes” chorused the team all on unmute

“I will now share a case story and leave you with a question. That should help you appreciate how strong you are in diagnosing improvement areas in your teams”

“Jagjeet is a fresher on your team” Suman said, “You have with you an assessment of his performance by 4 different team leads he has worked with in the last 9 months. Major observations are:

(1) Sales calling skills need ramp up. Seems hesitant to start conversations with strangers and engage in small talk (2) May need further training in group selling to B2B Customers. Frequently unable to take initiative in group meetings (3) Jagjeet should hone skills in negotiation conversations and winning over internal stakeholders (4) Service recovery and complaint handling need further work. Speaking with irate Customers appears to be a challenge for Jagjeet”

“Now, as a coach, can you identify one sales behaviour that can help Jagjeet fix all these gaps?”

“Sir, these are a range of performance gaps” said the Head of the largest region “Can’t think of just one behaviour that can fix all the gaps in one go”

“Alright” said Suman “We need to stick to our five minute time limit for HIM. So I will leave you with a clue. It is a C word and ends with an N. Think about it, and DM your answers to me. Till we meet next week”

The one ‘must-have’ behaviour in sales

If you are allowed to pick only one behaviour on which to train salespeople, what would that be? To answer that, let’s look at what tops a salesperson’s To Do list:

Get Customer XYZ to open up | Ask right questions | Listen actively | Build rapport, trust | Figure out the exact need | Pitch offer | Close

By now you would have guessed it – It is Sales Communication. What separates the champions from the also-rans in sales is most often their communication. Does that sound discouraging? Well, the good news it is eminently learnable

3 Factors that make sales communication crucial

1) ‘Passing of meaningful messages between Customer and Salesperson ‘is how Mercuri defines sales communication. A message is meaningful only when it elicits an action or reaction from the recipient. Value of a communication is in the response you get. So, if communication doesn’t get the intended response from the Customer, it has failed. And all communication failures are almost always attributable to the sender

2) The other factor that makes communication critical is, in sales, specially B2B sales, communication is not just between individuals. The participants represent, take positions and negotiate on behalf of organisations. This makes communication behaviours extremely important.

3) The third factor is that sales communication has grown beyond traditional face to face meetings and teleconferencing. Digital offers options like email, text, online chat and video conferencing. Each Customer has a preferred mode of communication, which means that a salesperson has to be adept across all formats. That said, it is good to remember that proficiency across formats is not equal to proficiency in communication. Besides, digital communication is unforgiving of errors as it is entirely real time. The salesperson therefore has to get it right the first time, every time

As a quote attributed to Jim Rohn says, “If you just communicate you can get by. But if you communicate skillfully , you can work miracles”

Possible solution for the story situation – All the Sales Managers in Suman’s team would find the '5 Stage Communication Framework' valuable to share with their new Sales Reps in helping them master Sales Communication (See Anchor Practice below)

Anchor Practice: The 5 Stage Communication Framework

This framework looks at Sales Communication as a process to be mastered in 5 stages

i. Forming – As when a Customer explains requirements

ii. Sending – Salesperson presents solution

iii. Receiving – Customer listens to the sales pitch

iv. Interpreting – Customer responds to the sales presentation. Salesperson in turn listens, understands and influences Customer requirements

v. Storing – Salesperson and Customer store the messages exchanged till it is time to act or react

Pause to reflect:   "What separates the champions from the also-rans in sales is most often their communication"

Action Question:  In your next upcoming Customer call, how can you use the '5 Stage Communication Framework' to add teeth to your sales effectiveness?

Related Readings: In your next upcoming Customer call, how can you use the '5 Stage Communication Framework' to add teeth to your sales effectiveness?

Takeaway Quote:  “The best way to sell something: don’t sell anything. Earn the awareness, respect and trust of those who might buy” – Rand Fishkin

About the series:  This is the 79th in a series of 100 Posts that seek to build your Sales Resilience ... as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.


77. FACILITATES: Manages role expectations effectively, when dealing with groups

What makes buyers behave differently in one-to-one and in Group Selling situations? How do sales veterans make the most of the diversity inherent in groups?

September 04, 2020Read more


75. PROBES: Uncovers real Customer needs using smart questions

In the world of virtual media, you are what you share. What do your shares and activities say about you?

September 04, 2020Read more