Communication Skills for Sales and Business Development
Whether your client transactions require a shorter buying process (sales) to acquire your goods or services or a longer relationship-building progression (business development), employing great communication skills will help you deliver information, build trust with your potential customers, and form valuable connections. Salespeople can be criticized for being pushy, inauthentic, or missing the mark on understanding what the customer needs. This is where empathy, active listening skills, and strategy come into play. When using written materials or oral delivery, you can utilize careful, concise language that builds trust through the lens of servanthood.
What is Servanthood?
When offering a product or service, you are essentially serving your customers to solve a problem or improve their lives. You aren’t there to make more money or hit your quotas, and that mentality will almost always show through. By providing information, acting as an advocate, delivering solutions, and forming a trusting relationship, you can accomplish authentic connections with your customers, no matter how short or long-lead the buying process dictates. Show up, provide value, and strive for connection (not sales dollars).
Marketing materials and outreach can include digital, printed, in-person communication, short-form, long-form, experiential, highly technical, or quick and witty. This all depends on your brand voice, product/service type, and sales process. No matter how you communicate, your style should be open, available, approachable, and authentic. No one wants to listen to a talking head. Is your information clear and easy to understand? Do you provide information or education without becoming overwhelming? Do you offer “read more” or follow-up learning for those who want to research more? Do you distill the information down into visually-appealing graphics, how-to videos, or engaging images? Appealing to multiple learning styles and having the agility to share information in different ways will help you achieve your objectives in these ways:
Meet your customer where they are (learning level, professional level, industry type)
Appear approachable, genuine, and ready to serve
Deliver a solutions-first mentality that puts them at ease
Show they are you listening to their needs and goals
Allow empathy to shine through, forming a partnership with your client to hit their objectives
30|90 Marketing provides communications training and business development training to help our clients best formulate their messaging and sales delivery. This strategy is custom-built for each sales team and sales process to most closely match their buyers’ journeys and personalities. At the end of the day, you're selling to people, not companies, so forming real connections is the only way to sell effectively.
Knowing your audience
Listen to their words and their body language
Put aside what you’re trying to say and start off getting to know your client. What do they have to say about their circumstances? What goals are they trying to hit? What outcomes do they need to happen? Who are they as people and how do they fit into the greater organization? Understanding the whole picture will help you, as a sales professional, offer solutions in the best way possible. Each client is different, and active listening will help you strategize products, services, or packages specifically suited for them. Remember to also watch body language because mannerisms and expressions can say A LOT! Pay attention to their body language to get an understanding of where the conversation is going, when there is a chance to provide more information or when it’s time to wrap it up.
Do your research
It’s important to do the proper research before walking into a sales meeting (or call) with potential clients. What do you anticipate the needs could be? What competitors might be currently serving them or trying to serve them? What products or services that you offer could be potential solutions for them? It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to every question you may get, but have enough information that you demonstrate a high level of awareness and competence. And remember to say, “I’ll get back to you on that answer” any time you aren’t sure about something. It’s better to be authentic and honest than to lie. Then be sure to get back promptly with the answers and any backup information you can provide.
Authenticity above all else
Be truthful and genuine in everything you say or do. “Honesty is the best policy” and that is especially true in sales. To build loyal clients, establish relationships by communicating openly and frequently, letting them get to know who you are, and investing in getting to know your clients as individuals. Just because you don’t close a deal today, doesn’t mean you won’t have a great opportunity to serve that client later OR get a great referral from them because of how you treated them.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
Not every potential customer is for you
And that’s ok. Clients are just people, and not every person is going to be your best friend for life. Personalities or business philosophies might not align. The client might not have the budget just yet, or the timing may be off for different reasons. Having an abundance mentality means that you wholeheartedly believe there is enough business out there for you (and for everyone else), making it totally fine to acknowledge that not every client is for you… and your business isn’t for every client. Remain professional, appreciative of their time, and sincere, even if the sale isn’t going to work out. Never burning bridges can go a long way in continuing valuable networking and maintaining your reputation for professionalism.
Sales are all about Relationships
Building valuable marketing content and impactful communication skills are valuable for sales and for general professional reputation development. If you or your organization need help with business development targeting (and strategy), outreach planning, communication tactics (including drafting your elevator pitch), networking skills, effective follow-up, and presentation skills, we are here to help. Reach out to 30|90 Marketing today to see how we can provide training or strategy for your sales or business development teams.