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Communicate On Their Level, Not Yours By Art Sobczak


I was browsing the latest toys in the computer department at Best Buy, while also eavesdropping on the sales attempts by the staff. Interesting, indeed.

A middle-aged fellow with his young son were quizzically poking at various machines. The dad had the “deer in the headlights” look. Son kept saying, “Dad, we need somethun that goes fast!” Finally accosted by a salesperson, the dad explained he’d like something that “Goes fast.”

The blue-vested clerk pointed to a machine and said, “Pentium three, 600 megahertz, 27 gigs of hard drive, 128 meg DRAM, 8 meg video memory, 512K level 2 cache. It screams, dude.”

“Oh,” the dad said, nodding his head, lips pursed, as feigning that he had a clue about what he just heard.

A few silent seconds passed. “We’ll shop around a bit more,” he said, dragging the kid with him. I watched him all the way out the door.

Key Sales Point:
Communicate with people in the same way THEY speak and think, not the way you speak and think.

This is especially crucial by phone. Here are some guidelines.

1. Listen carefully to words and phrases they use to describe situations, needs, desires, and problems. Write down the relevant ones.

2. Question to get explanations on ones that you don’t fully understand, or maybe even seem foreign to you.

For example, “Kelli, when you say you want something that goes fast, what exactly are we talking about? What will you be using the machine for?”

3. Use their language when presenting your sales message and recommendations. Sell them on the results, using the language they understand:

“… and with this system your son’s games will run twice as fast as on that old machine you said you have now. Plus, you won’t have to sit and wait for it to grind through those spreadsheet calculations you mentioned you run …”

Remember, don’t sell the means; they buy the end.
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Art Sobczak helps sales pros use the phone to prospect, service and sell more effectively, while eliminating morale-killing “rejection.” He presents public seminars and customizes programs for companies. Art has a number of books, CD’s to help sales reps. See free articles and back issues of his weekly emailed sales tips at www.BusinessByPhone.com. Also ask for a free copy of his monthly Telephone Prospecting and Selling Report newsletter by emailing ArtS@BusinessByPhone.com, or calling (402)895-9399).