Social Selling Tips of the Week: How Today’s Top Sellers Communicate

Master the communication secrets that prospects respond to, while avoiding common pitfalls.

September 9, 2016

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“It’s not what you say, but how you say it.”

Good communication is one of the most essential, yet least practiced skills in a sales leader’s arsenal. Sales teams have forgotten how to simply communicate with clients, and that lack creates systemic problems when it comes to conversions, expectation management, and trust—not too mention nuts-and-bolts issues like pricing conversations and education.

What’s worse, thanks to the lack of communication training, the gap between prospect and salesperson is getting wider every year. Fewer professionals are honing the oldest skill in the sales book—communication.

To help correct the shift, here are a few helpful tips and perspectives for transforming the dialogue between prospects and your sales team. Let’s dive in.

Why Sales Teams Crave Storytelling Training

This week’s first post from LinkedIn Pulse comes from strategic messaging consultant Andy Raskin. Raskin points out the difficulty many enterprise sales teams face while trying to grow past their initial growth stages.

“When sales leaders contact me to train their teams on storytelling and narrative pitch structure, I always ask why,” Raskin writes. “Nine times out of ten, the answer is some version of ‘We’re trying to scale beyond the market where we’ve traditionally enjoyed success, and our old story isn’t working.’”

Changing how a sales team communicates with different prospects allows a business to “scale beyond their target market.” A well-structured sales story doesn’t just connect with new prospects, it also actually aids in qualifying, refining, and even eliminating certain leads, making your work more efficient.

Finally, Raskin highlights the way that strong, effective communication fosters trust. “The way to get reluctant prospects to open up is to model that behavior by telling a story that reveals your own pain and vulnerability.”

The Gut Check on Trustworthiness

Our second article comes from Colleen Francis, author and top sales consultant. Francis continues the conversation on which communication tactics do (and don’t) make a salesperson more trustworthy.

Her article hinges on questioning four common communication behaviors:

1.   How Quickly Does the Salesperson Speak?

2.   Do They Interrupt Others?

3.   What Does Their Body Language Communicate?

4.   Do They Know Their Facts?

Francis analyzes the effectiveness—and potential faux pas—of each communication style, from untrustworthy fast-talkers, to rude interruptions. She also explores the simple power of listening, eye contact, and knowing your product or service inside and out.

Francis sums up sales communication quite nicely when she writes that, “The people you trust are always present in the conversation. They’re not stuck inside their own head. Get this right in sales and you can build rapport quickly and capitalize on opportunities. Get it wrong and you could lose it all.”

Is it Too Late for Universities to Teach Sales?

A recent article from sales strategist and consultant, Lori Richardson, asks a simple question about the future of B2B sales: Can young sales professionals be taught to communicate right out of college?

Richardson argues that today’s college graduates might know the facts and figures better than ever before, but they still lack these basic sales communication skills:

●     Listening

●     Speaking Articulately

●     Effective writing

●     Persuasion

●     Professional Presentation

Richardson even recounts her experience at CCBN working with recent college graduates. “I was building an inside sales team but realized that we had lots of recent college grads who could not write a concise email or speak with authority,” she writes. This lack of basic communication skills is a problem in today’s increasingly social marketplace.

LinkedIn Social Selling Index Kit

This week’s final post is a look at LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index Kit, and how it can actually help you analyze your personal sales communication techniques to discover what works and what doesn’t.

The Social Selling Index Kit provides comprehensive guides that break down key areas of social selling and communication tips. Highlights include a look at the science of social selling and an in-depth infographic that breaks down your Social Selling Index (SSI) score out of 100 based on four key metrics.

The kit helps you diagnose and improve on your weakest communication skills while arming you and your team with new techniques, skills, and a perspective that can help you transform your sales narrative for today’s social selling landscape.

Social Selling Is Communication

It’s easy to get lost in metrics and big data. However, the oldest sales tool—communication—is still essential. Good communication builds trust, authority, confidence, and a robust network so sales professionals can thrive in today’s crowded marketplace. Top sales performers are nearly all great communicators.

Subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Solution blog for more insights about how you can find the communication style that works for you, along with other social selling tips and tricks.