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Small Compass Sound Sales: People Skills

By Mark McGlinchey - Written by Compass Group Solutions Founder Mark McGlinchey, this article first appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal

Sales Tip

You only have one chance to make a first impression. When you first meet someone, within the first 30 seconds to 5 minutes, the other person has made a subconscious appraisal of whether they trust you or they are comfortable with you. This is true whether it’s a face-to-face meeting or a phone conversation. In that first 30 seconds to 5 minutes, if you have not established bonding and rapport (trust and comfort), you will encounter an uphill battle through the remainder of your selling cycle as you try to establish it – and you may never establish it.

The ultimate result of not establishing bonding and rapport is that your prospect will be defensive which will cause them to hide issues from you. They may not reveal their budget, they may mislead you and, yes, they may even lie to you.

Have you ever been to a social gathering, a business meeting or any other setting where when you first met someone, you did not like them or, more importantly, you did not trust them. Then, over time, you started to change your opinion about them… however, it did take time for this to happen.

The problem in sales is often we don’t have enough time to enable someone to view us differently or change their original concept of us. Therefore, a good beginning is critical. Establishing bonding and rapport from the onset is vital.

One way to get off to a good start is to uncover the prospect’s primary learning sense. We all utilize seeing, hearing and touch to learn, communicate and make decisions. However, we all have a preference – a sense we prefer to use. Here is how you can determine your prospect’s or another person’s primary learning sense.

Let’s assume I make a statement and someone wants to agree with my statement. They might respond in one of the following ways:

“I see what you mean”, “I hear what you’re saying” or “I feel the same way.”

All three of these responses indicate agreement, but look at the words. The first statement is visual, the second is audio and the third is touch. Visual learners will often use visual words in their speech pattern - words and expressions, such as: I see what you mean; picture this; I envision this; can you draw it out for me; or show me.

Audio learners will do the same with audio words and expressions, such as: I hear you; sounds good; that’s a lot of noise; or I’m listening.

With touch learners, the words from their mouth will be: I have a good feeling; I have a bad feeling; it’s been my experience; I think; or I believe.

A person’s eye movement or eye contact can also indicate their primary learning sense. Visual learners have wandering eyes – like a kid in a candy store. While an audio person will stare a hole right through you when you talk because they are listening intently to what you have to say. You’ll notice with touch learners, they like to use their hands – touch, feel, grab.

By using these discovery methods, you can usually determine a person’s primary learning sense within five minutes. Again, please note, primary is just that – their method of choice. They will and can use their other senses.

How can you apply this knowledge? Once you have determined whether someone is either audio, visual or touch, proceed to mirror and match. Speak a visual language, if they are visual. Use audio terminology, if they are audio. Of course, touch terminology, if they are a primary touch learner. When it’s time to make a presentation or get important points across, bring the information to them in their primary category.

Now, you realize true bonding and rapport doesn’t necessarily happen by accident. By understanding how your prospects learn and absorb information, you will be better able to communicate with them. You can speak their language, you will think their thoughts and you will have mastered both verbal and non-verbal communications. You will have bonded with them and they will be comfortable with you and trust you.

Keywords: Sales, People Skills, Sales Management, Sound Sales, Sales Tips, Sales Consulting, Compass Group Solutions, Mark McGlinchey

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