It’s the way you tell ‘em

What do we have to do in order to persuade someone to buy? We have to communicate. We have to influence another person's thinking and attitudes in such a way as to convince them of the desirability of a course of action that had previously either not been considered or, if considered, had not been thought desirable.

Such influence is brought about by a two-way flow of comment, information, views and suggestions and this can only happen in the right environment, in the right atmosphere.

We have two important communication functions:

  • To create a situation that allows easy communication, a natural flow of conversation
  • To control the process of communication in order to lead it to a specific conclusion

We communicate in two ways:

  • By what we say
  • By what we do

Everything we do, everything we say, must be effective in terms of creating and controlling the situation.

Communicating by what we do

  • Show respect
  • Look directly at the buyer
  • Don't fidget
  • Be a good listener
  • Demonstrate points visually
  • Use hands effectively
  • Make the buyer feel important

Communicating by what we say

  • Use the customer’s name
  • Use "you" and "we", not "I" and "me"
  • Use language that the buyer understands
  • Speak with enthusiasm
  • Use the full range of your voice
  • Do not talk too quickly - or too slowly
  • Never interrupt
  • Avoid arguments
  • Admit mistakes
  • Show an appreciation of what the buyer does - praise them
  • Never mislead the customer
  • Avoid undue familiarity
  • Do not "knock competitors"

Neither of these lists is exclusive – think of your own add-ons and learn to stick to them.

Selling is a specialised form of persuasion. We have to help the buyer to decide to buy from us. To persuade successfully, we normally have to progress by stages:

  • Gain attention
  • Create interest
  • Arouse desire
  • Enable action

And that last one is often a stumbling block. We may have convinced someone that they want to buy from us but they may have contractual, legal, administrative or budgetary hurdles to jump before they can buy from us. We need to work with them to get over those hurdles. We need empathy.

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