5 Effective Communication Skills for Salespeople

Because the art of selling is so dependent on persuasive and believable information exchange, salespeople must be effective communicators.  Great communication is not simply what is conveyed, but how it is conveyed and how choice rhetoric, info and body language can drive relationships and sales.

Once salespeople elevate communication skills to a pro level, they can improve sales and relate better to prospects.

1.       Listen

When meeting with a prospect, remember there are two parties and that communication should go in both directions. Don’t just talk (and risk talking yourself out of a sale); listen – and listen so well that the prospect feels understood and heard.  Even if a prospect is reluctant to talk, ask questions or encourage general feedback.

Listening can help you perceive:

  • Answers that give insight into the prospect’s needs, values, motivations or budget.
  • Changes in the prospect’s tone or mood.
  • Buzz words that signal resistance or openness to closing.
  • Excitement or hostility toward the company or the salesperson.

2.       Focus on Solutions

Modern sales training wisely teaches salespeople to be customer-centric. However, that doesn’t mean all aspects of a customer’s life from college exploits to hobbies rank equally in importance. Center your dialogue around the most important customer focus: solutions.

Find out what’s not working well, what’s missing, or what deficiencies need improving; then show how products, services or special options from your company can address these matters. To improve sales, your communication should be full of expert advice, recommendations and resolutions so the prospect will think of you not just as a salesperson but as a problem-solver.

3.       Read Body Language

A salesperson can gain an advantage by reading body language. Interpreting how long a customer glances at a part of the presentation, how wide pupils dilate to show interest, whether the torso is pointing in a direction that shows agreement or if the prospect is signaling openness through gestures can all improve sales potential.

There is a lot of information about this on the Web, so some time spent searching and 
reading is time well spent.



4.       Match Prospect’s Tone (Mimicry)

Linguistic mirroring has long helped professionals in any field where persuasion is necessary.  Matching the prospect’s tone, words or ideology can create trust, agreement and an atmosphere of ease. Use tips from any neuro linguistics and psychology resource to start practicing how to match tone.

Some of the common-sense basics:

  • If the client is laid back and relaxed when speaking, don’t be overly formal, manic or uptight.
  • If the client is super upbeat and humorous, don’t be droll and no-nonsense.
  • If the prospect is very sophisticated, you’ll want to be your most polished.
  • If he is stoic and all-business, you’ll want be serious, too.

Clashes in tone can ruin a client meeting in the first minute. Even if the prospect endures the meeting until the end, he likely won’t close a deal with someone he couldn’t connect with in tone. Even if he can’t put his finger on the reason for the disconnect, he will feel it.

5.       Greet and Depart Properly

Whether you close a deal or not, always be warm, inviting and sincere with the prospect, greeting them in a personal way and leaving the same.

People tend to remember the first impression and the last thing you say to them, so make a good impression at both of these points, even if you haven’t closed,  and it might inspire them to contact you in the future. Have you ever experienced a salesperson who is all smiles and giggles at first when she thinks she can sell you, but then changes demeanor abruptly and rushes you out the door when she realizes you aren’t buying today?

Don’t be that guy or girl. You never know when the person who doesn’t qualify today will turn into an interested buyer in the future.

Communicating more effectively improves sales skills ranging from negotiating and closing to in-person confidence and cordiality. It’s a skill we all should work on more often.



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