The Art And Science Of Selling (Part 2)
Welcome to the second part of our series, breaking down the lessons from The Ultimate Sales Messaging System business eBook. This system is designed to teach exceptional communication skills to improve selling technique. It encompasses both the art and science behind crafting the perfect sales pitch. Enjoy!
For so many, communication skills can be a roadblock, when they really should be the thing that helps us clinch the deal. Developing exceptional communication skills takes practice, a deep understanding of your audience, and a commitment to using the latest scientific and artistic principles to deliver the message. Read on to find out how.
Be clear, concise, and compelling. Stop confusing your prospects, because confused prospects rarely buy. When we can know our audience intimately, have a basic understanding of the adult learning process, and design our message and delivery to create a confident purchasing environment, we can remove the potential barrier of a confused prospect. When communicating the details and capabilities of your products to your customers, you must be able to answer when the prospect asks: “How can this product help me make more money or get rid of my problem?” Clearly, it helps when we can offer a solution our customers can believe in framed within the concept of Return on Investment (ROI).
Now, on to Part 2. Follow these 6 Principles so your prospects can do two things… Believe and Buy.
1. The Process Of Filtration
The less you talk, the more you’re listened to.
-Abigail Van Buren
We live in an age of media overload and “too much information” (TMI). As both consumers and presenters, we must learn to filter out excess information and focus on what’s really important.
Excess quantity of information negatively impacts the quality of learning. In this case, less truly is more.
We call it “filter failure” when we allow our message to be diluted by information that does not build directly upon our main idea. Don’t be guilty of aggravated assault with a wordy weapon!
2. A Little Self-Control
Filter failure comes in many forms. Here are some of the most common ways that we allow our words to overwhelm our audience:
- Add-Ons (adding extra facts just because you want to)
- Stories (KISS – Keep It Short, Speaker!)
- Long Introductions (remember the value of a minute)
- Lack Of Preparation (flow-killers like run-ons, fill-ins, start-overs)
- Loving Your Own Information (help your audience, don’t be precious)
We must get these common problems under control. Our access to technology makes it easy to create and disseminate information, which leads to information overload. It’s so easy to throw a ton of info into a Power Point that it actually tends to do both the speaker and audience a disservice. We need to be better than the technology, and not use it as a crutch.
Technology is so much fun, but we can drown in our technology. The fog of information can drown out knowledge.”
-Daniel J. Boorstin
Don’t drown out information. If you know how to avoid that, you will build trust with your audience, who will then appreciate that you know how to speak their language and solve their problems without overwhelming them.
3. The Power of Clarity
Simplicity leads to CLARITY and clarity unleashes the true POWER of effective communication.”
It isn’t always easy to employ both clarity and simplicity, which means it’s all the more vital to make the effort. For starters, try to avoid these typical traps:
- Cultural Cliches (avoid catchphrases that people from other backgrounds might not understand)
- Meandering Message (ensure a logical flow of ideas in your messaging)
- Aggravating Acronyms (never use an acronym without defining it, even common ones like “AKA”)
- Cute Or Crazy (avoid undermining your own credibility; something you might think is cute may look crazy to your audience)
4. The Curse Of Knowledge
The curse of knowledge is a problem that leads to “mutual mystification,” a force that derails sales conversations on a daily basis. The “curse” is that, when we know something, we often feel compelled to explain or share it with others in a way that they are not prepared for. This leads to confusion, and confused customers rarely buy.
These two solutions can help to alleviate the burden of knowledge:
- Use quotes and imagery to underscore your point, while giving your audience a chance to digest what you’ve told them so far.
- Speak their language by using common, everyday examples that can more clearly explain an overly technical idea.
Every new idea must build on ideas that the student already knows.
-Daniel T. Willingham
As tempting as it is to add new information, exceptional communicators who focus on simplicity have the advantage of building rapport with their audience.
5. Stickiness (according to the book, “Made To Stick”)
Six key elements of creating a “sticky” message:
We’ve been over this, but remember; the human brain is wired to retain a certain number of information chunks. This is why phone numbers have 7 digits (excluding the area code). If you are breaking your presentation into chunks, keep this in mind. People are pretty good about remembering 3 or fewer chunks, but when you inch closer to the magical number of 7, or even beyond that (Heaven forbid), you’re really playing with fire and run the risk of overwhelming the audience.
To maintain the interest of your audience without overwhelming them, give your material a degree of mystery or suspense to “keep the butts in the seats.” Be deliberate in how you establish and then build on new ideas.
Avoid ambiguities and stick to more concrete examples that are easier for everybody to understand.
An obstacle that just comes with the territory is that customers almost always see sales messages as having strings attached. They are right, which is why it is important to cite impartial sources and statistics whenever it makes sense to do so. The message means more when it’s coming from someone who isn’t trying to sell you something.
Make your audience feel something. Emotion will mean different things in different scenarios. Depending on your product or service, crafting a presentation that stokes a sense of compassion, energy, sadness, joy, fear, anger, elation, etc. will help your message to stick.
The Harvard Business Review asserts that tossing out the Power Point in favor of a more convincing story is a better way of engaging on a deeper level. People connect better with stories than they do with data in a vacuum. Finding a way to underscore your message with a story, either personal or analogous, will ultimately help you to better capture your audience’s imagination.
6. The 4 C’s Of Telling A Good Story
- Causality – a logical sequence of events that the audience feels compelled to follow
- Conflict – the obstacles that pop up between the protagonist and his goals
- Complications – the challenges that arise just when the path to success looks clear
- Character – an interesting person with a skill set uniquely tailored to the situation
Working all four C’s into your sales messaging will make your case more clear, concise, and compelling to your prospects. Your “story” will be more vivid in their minds, and what you’ve communicated will be more likely to “stick.”
What’s The Point?
The principles above will coincide with two things, how humans learn, and how they make buying decisions.
If you’re ever unsure ow your message is landing, remember; you can always ask! Aside from the obvious result of making a sale, or convincing the prospect to take a specific action, see if you can get them to repeat the main idea of your presentation back to you. If they can, then you know you’ve done your job as a communicator.
For more, stay tuned to our blog as we will continue to break down the lessons from The Ultimate Sales Messaging System in future installments. If you want the whole thing, and you just gotta have it now, please check out our online webinar.
The Ultimate Sales Messaging System was created by Brian Williams, of Perspectivity Intl. Perspectivity is a “sales growth agency,” established in 2012, and is the product of more than 20 years of experience with global tech giants.