14 Tips For Improving Communication

Is there anything more important in sales than being able to effectively communicate?  I dare say no – it is a crucial skill for any sales or sales leadership role.  This Entrepreneur article states that 55% of communication is nonverbal.  I have seen other studies estimating that number to be closer to 90%.  Either way, you get the idea – words are the smaller part of the communication equation.  Salespeople must have the ability to pick up on the subtle “tells” that prospects unknowingly share. The first step in improving your communication abilities is to know yourself.  A communication style assessment is a good first step at understanding your natural… Read More

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The Shrinking Attention Span vs. Relationship Sales

Here is a problem I have seen developing in sales over the past 10 years – shorter attention spans in salespeople having to deal with longer sales cycles. First, some background from a quick American Management Association: Whenever I teach students, I tell them, “Your chance of being successful has gone up exponentially because all you’ve got to do now is actually try to pay attention for more than five minutes.” Ok, that is disconcerting.  You can see where this is going.  The integration of the Internet into our lives has provided prospects with a unique ability to research your company, and more importantly, your solutions.  We often talk about… Read More

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Email Etiquette – The Sign-Off

This Entrepreneur article hits on topic you may have overlooked.  What sign-off do you use for your emails?  Did you know there are different levels of etiquette?  Not kidding, there are certain formalities to consider. An example: The salutation: “Best” Bates: “Best” is colloquial, but fine for someone you know. “Best wishes” or “Best regards” would be better for business. Kerr: This is another acceptable sign-off, especially if you’re using it with someone you know really well. That is my preferred sign-off, but I am currently rethinking it.  Here is the one I really dislike: The salutation: “Ciao” Bates: This isn’t for business, except for fashion, art or real Italians. Kerr: “Ciao” should only be used… Read More

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How To Fix Employee Conflicts

If you have been in leadership for any length of time, you have had to deal with employee conflicts amongst your team.  Some of the issues are trivial, others substantial, but what do you do to fix these problems?  The source of most conflict in the workplace flows from one specific area – Motivations. We assess motivations as part of our tools in helping companies hire and evaluate talent.  Motivations are an interesting aspect of our psyches.  They are deeply seated and have the power to drive behaviors, decision-making, and more.  The difficulty of motivations is that they are difficult to determine from simply interacting with someone.  Maybe if you… Read More

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How To Pace Your Coworkers

The DISC assessment provides volumes of invaluable information for dealing with others.  One key aspect is understanding the pace of others as it can create tension in any office…or sales situation. There are certain aspects to pace that are specific to individuals including whether they focus on people or tasks first.  Are they detailed or rapid fire?  What drives the pace they prefer? TTI provides a terrific description of how the differences in styles presents a difference in pace.  A few, quick takeaways: The D of DISC is called Dominance. A person possessing this behavioral style will tend to be fast paced a majority of the time. Direct in their communication,… Read More

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The Non-Verbal Advantage

Sometimes successfully closing a sale comes down to slight advantage. One of the overlooked aspects of selling is communication, specifically nonverbal communication.  I get the chance to discuss this topic with salespeople often…and often it is overlooked.  This Inc.com article provides a good reinforcement to nonverbal communication’s importance. Consider this fact: …there are three elements that account for how well we receive someone’s message and they impact us differently: 7 percent words 38 percent tone of voice 55 percent body language I’ve read articles recently that bring up these topics in different forums.  Smile while you record your voicemail greeting, tell your story to your prospects to connect on a… Read More

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Your Boss Is A Psychopath

Maybe, according to this article in Entrepreneur. Check out this statistic: …experts say there’s almost one psychopath for every 100 people, with rates shooting up in the workplace, especially in leadership, thanks to psychopaths’ ease with manipulation. Research finds that nearly 4 percent of corporate CEOs are psychopaths, and this rate is nearly doubled among middle managers. (Shockingly, the share of psychopaths among middle managers is nearly as high as the share of psychopaths in medium security prisons.) I have worked for many bosses with whom I would question their psychopathic tendencies.  I suppose that term deserves definition from within the article. A psychopath stands out, Woodward says, thanks to… Read More

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Reading Microexpressions A Key To Sales?

In a word…yes. We spend a fair amount of time working with salespeople to access their empathy and read the prospect in a qualifying situation.  This ability is one of the keys to all successful selling. This article from Harvard Business Review provides a thorough breakdown of this topic.  A first pull quote from the article: In my work as a body language researcher and instructor, I’ve long theorized that one of the key differences between exceptional negotiators or salespeople and those who are merely average is the ability to read these microexpressions, gauge visceral reactions to ideas or proposals, then strategically steer them toward a preferred outcome. And why… Read More

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Do Not Clone Your Style

This Forbes article addresses one of the most important aspects of an interview – the communication style alignment between the hiring manager and the candidate.  The article is written from the candidate’s perspective, but offers great insights into the hiring manager’s mindset. A supervisor isn’t going to hire someone that he doesn’t believe he can work with. Managers come in all shapes and sizes–some are hands-off and expect their employees to do what they need to do with little or no supervision. Others like to receive daily updates, religiously review timecards and schedule regular check-in meetings with their staff. This style topic is important in hiring, but should never be… Read More

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