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Jul 13-19, 1998

THE FIVE ESSENTIAL SKILLS OF SALES AND SELLING
#3. Communication

jack carrollby Jack Carroll

The third cornerstone skill of sales and selling is communication. The skills that make up communication are most commonly associated with sales. Communication is the heart and soul of selling because it is the method and style you use to transmit and receive information from customers and prospects.

The fundamental communication methods are talking, and listening, rapport building, questioning, understanding, persuading, presenting, clarifying, getting commitment, and relationship building.

There are fundamentally two styles of sales communicaton. The first is the leading or manipulative style which uses language and techniques to lead people where you want them to go and arrive at conclusions that are favorable to you. The second is the cooperative or consultative style, which asks questions to find out if there is a genuine need or desire for your products.

Generally speaking, leading communication styles are used by salespeople involved in single-sale consumer purchases. For the most part, business-to-business salespeople use the cooperative style of communication because it works better and is more suitable for long term relationships.

Regardless of communication style, never forget that in the field of sales, the thing that distinguishes you from customer service or any other function which involves customer interaction, is asking for and getting commitment. If you don't ask for and get commitment, you're not in sales. Sorry, but you're not.

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Sales Tip and Practice
Before every sales call, plan your primary objective in making the call and determine where and how you will ask for commitment. After the call, rate yourself on how successful you were in executing. Understand that they have an obligation to give you back commitment or "no thanks" for the information and time that you are giving them. "Go for the no" so you can find out exactly where you stand. Don't waste your time or theirs.

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