Men are from Mars, salespeople are from VenusWritten by Tom Richard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone who has ever had a conversation with the opposite sex knows that men and women speak different languages. There is little value in trying to figure out why these differences exist. The key is to develop the ability to understand the meaning behind the words we speak and the words we hear from others.
It has taken seven years of marriage and reading John Gray’s book, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,” to learn how to speak “woman.” Now, I can proudly translate my wife’s statement, “I am cold,” into its true meaning, “Please get me a blanket.” Prior to learning the Venusian language whenever I heard my wife say, “I am cold,” I was hearing a statement of fact: “I am cold.” Wise men know that this is not a mere statement; it is a request for action.
As a husband, it is imperative that I develop the methods needed to communicate well with my wife, both in terms of the words that I use, as well as the interpretation of the words that I hear. It would be silly to think that this coequal need to communicate effectively exists in the business world.
In the business world, your customers do not have the time, the need or the patience to try and translate the words that you are using. This means that you need to make sure you are using words, questions and statements that instantly convey the appropriate message, request, or statement of fact. Be direct. There is no room in the business world for ambiguous language. Those who want to get out in front of the competition need to take a lesson from the page of married life communications and better their communication skills.
Take a look at the big picture. You need travel no further than your closest salesperson to hear examples of wishy-washy language, obscure statements and watered-down questions. Unlike your spouse, however, your prospective customers have nothing to gain by trying to interpret the meaning behind your words. Do yourself a favor and improve the directness you use when formulating your questions.
Before you ask a question, ask yourself, “What do I want?” This will assure a response geared to your own needs.
Do you want to ask them for an appointment? Do you want to ask them for a sale? Then ask yourself if the questions that you are asking are dancing around what you really want to ask.
In a world that runs on clean communication you are doing your customer a disservice when your questions are ambiguous. It is possible to be both direct and polite.
It shows a modicum of professionalism when you are able to realize that getting to the point shows a level of understanding and deference to those with whom you are talking. The questions that we ask our customers rarely have anything to do with what we really want to ask. We ask questions like, “Did you receive the samples that I sent?” when both our customer and we know that the real question is, “Did you like any of the samples we sent enough to buy our product?”
Or, perhaps you’re trying to ask for an appointment in some convoluted, backward way. If you use ambiguous, wishy-washy language, you are going to get ambiguous, wishy-washy responses. If you ask the wrong questions, you will always get the wrong answers.
An effective, direct question has two major components — a statement of what you want, and a reason that they should care. Direct? Yes. Effective? You bet.
There is no shame in being direct. You are not being pushy; you are being an effective communicator. Take the guesswork out of your language, and you will discover the ability to provide your customers with the help, answers and solutions that they are looking for.
After all, that is what you are truly selling, isn’t it?
Tom Richard is a Toledo-based sales trainer, gives seminars, runs sales meetings and provides coaching for salespeople. For more information, visit www.TomRichard.com, call him at (419) 441-1005 or e-mail email@example.com.