Communication Tips to
Click with Your Client
By Dianna Booher
Prospects size you up personally while making their buying
decision. “Are you credible?” “Competent?” “Interested in their
situation?” The following tips will help you avoid the blank stare
Consider Your Demeanor—Don’t Confuse Boring for Sincere: Create
flair and drama as you present a new idea, product, or service.
Wanting to shed the huckster image of 40 or 50 years ago, some sales
professionals have gone to the other extreme, and removed all
animation, inflection, and energy from their delivery style in an
effort to come across as more “sincere.” Instead of sincere, the
result is lackluster and boring.
you’re not passionate about your proposal, neither will your
buyers. Never confuse genuine enthusiasm for lack of
professionalism. If you want to see the passion and power to move a
world to action, watch the delivery styles of world leaders. Don’t
let a passionless demeanor destroy your prospect’s confidence in
Distinguish Between Agreeing and Understanding: Agreeing and
understanding have similar “symptoms” - smiling, nodding head,
supportive statements. Make sure your buyer knows that you’re
communicating that you understand as opposed to agree
with a viewpoint or issue. Not recognizing this difference can lead
to opposite conclusions - and big disappointments and
Use a Positioning Structure Rather Than a Pitch: Canned and
formula presentations primarily make a product pitch. That is, they
“tell all” about your organization and summarize one or a few key
products or services (or product or service lines).
positioning presentation, on the other hand, focuses on how your
organization and your product or service differs from others
- how it uniquely meets the buyer’s needs or situation. It focuses
on targeted areas of interest where your unique core strength meets
the buyer’s criteria, and then compares that strength to what the
you present the same product or service to the same prospect base
with the same needs, it’s best to use the positioning structure for
Never Just “Walk Through” Your Proposal - Give a Guided Tour:
Your buyers will beat you to the end every time. While you’re still
on page two, your buyers will be on page eight, checking out the
pricing section. In fact, your proposal will compete with you for
attention. Instead, carefully select which parts of your proposal
to present orally. Then refer buyers to a specific page only
after you make your key point about that page.
Ask What Your Buyer Knows Rather Than Tell What You Know: “What
do you know about my organization?” allows your buyers to give their
perceptions. You then can fill in the gaps, clarifying and
correcting, if necessary. When you lead with, “Let me tell you a
little about our organization,” you’re at a distinct disadvantage
for several reasons: You’re doing all the talking and setting
yourself up in lecture mode as the person with all the answers. You
may be providing information already known, or you may be
elaborating on what the buyer doesn’t care about knowing. And you
have no way of knowing if the customer really understands what
you’ve said - and most important - what your organization offers.
Tell Failure Stories: There is power in telling case histories
about clients who didn’t have stellar success with your product or
service—if the reason for their lack of success was due to their own
decision making, not your product or service. It underscores what
other customers did wrong (for example, waiting too long to buy, not
using your design team to install and customize their product, not
buying a warranty) and helps the current prospect not repeat the
mistake. Telling about failures of other product users adds
credibility to your success stories.
caution: Don’t use names with failure stories, because prospects
may fear you’ll tell others of their own mistakes later if they buy.
Make Statistics and Facts Experiential: People digest numbers
with great difficulty. Yes, pie charts and bar graphs help. But if
you can go beyond that, do so. For example, randomly survey your
committee of buyers by asking them to raise their hands in response
to a few questions; then equate those findings to the random survey
you did previously of their entire organization. Are they typical
of the rest of the employee population? How so?
Supporting statistics lend credibility to what you say. Be sure,
however, to do all you can to help your buyers digest them.
Prefer Understatement to Overstatement: After a teenager came
home from his first summer job interview as a grocery stocker, his
mom asked how it went. “I don’t know,” he said. “They gave me one
of those honesty tests, where they asked if I’d ever cheated on an
exam, if I’d ever stolen money from my parents, if I’d ever
shoplifted - things like that.” He paused, looked a little
concerned, then added, “I was answering no to all those things and
then I got a little worried that maybe I wouldn’t get the job - that
I sounded too good to be true.”
get the job, but it was an astute observation about human nature.
always more effective to let your prospect “add to” what you’ve
promised rather than “discount it” because it seems too good to be
believable. Present the range of results you have achieved and can
document. Generally, it is better to promise only the minimum
gains. Otherwise, you set up your client to be disappointed. If
the minimum gains are worthwhile to them, maximum gains will be the
“extra” that makes them long-term fans.
avoid that same blank look of disengagement in a buyer’s eye, keep
these communication keys in mind. You’ll be clicking with your
customers in no time.
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about Dianna Booher.
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