My background happens to be in the electric sign industry and I will be introducing a series of posts on this site that relate directly to that market. However, the principles discussed will be applicable to any business!
Ask them how they wish to communicate – Email, phone, text, social? I chased one guy for months. Emails, phone messages, nothing. Finally, I found him on Twitter, followed him, and sent him a direct message. I got an instant response. Twitter. Go figure.
Two eyes, two ears, one mouth – Listen and do so with your eyes as well as your ears. The more they talk, and the less you do, the more you will learn.
Avoid jargon – This includes technical terms and acronyms that nobody understands. Here’s the worst part. Most people won’t tell you that they don’t understand a word that you say. Instead, their eyes might glaze over and there is a good chance that you will not see them again!
Cushion, Clarify, Conquer, Confirm – Have you ever asked someone a question only to have them provide a totally irrelevant answer? I have! Great answer, but not for my question. There’s a problem. Most people won’t stop you. They’ll just go someplace else. Here’s the magic formula and it works the same for questions or objections (which are sometimes merely questions) …
- Cushion – “I want to make sure that I understand your question.”
- Clarify – “Is it ….?”
- Conquer – “Great question and here is the answer”
- Confirm – “Did I answer your question to your satisfaction?”
Dealing with those who don’t want to meet in-person – You will need to Integrate technology. Use Zoom or Facetime (share your screen) or email them a narrated slideshow of your presentation or a screencast. I like Screencast-O-Matic.
How about just making a quick video of you on your phone and emailing or texting that? Share videos of signs being made or installed. Make it personal regardless. Research embedding videos and slides into email. A nice free tool to do this is Dubb.
Best be ready! Virtual meetings are becoming more popular, and more necessary, as a result of our current conditions. COVID has shut, and continues to shut, many indoors. It has also created a dramatic boom in folks leaving their offices to work at home and … even if and when this is all over, many companies have already decided to allow folks to work from home … permanently.
While I think that signs can be presented very effectively virtually, closing will be more challenging, but that holds true for any industry. Your customer will dictate this. You could use something like HelloSign or DocuSign for your signed proposals. Certainly, you can get a verbal in a virtual meeting. Remember to hit the record button.
Everyone communicates differently – Each of us has our own preferred style of communicating. This applies to all buyers regardless of age. DISC is the study of observable behaviors. It also provides clues to how people wish to communicate and what they wish to talk about.
As an example, my preferred communication style is fast and my focus is on the task at hand. However, I often have to speak with people who prefer a slower and more relationship focused conversation. While this, for me, is akin to chewing on glass, it is my responsibility to adapt and adjust my style to meet theirs!
Have you ever wondered why some people are so easy to converse with while others are the exact opposite? Are their communication styles similar to yours or not? Or, why were things going so well and then they suddenly changed … for the worse? People also have secondary styles and they will sometimes shift to these. You will need to stay on your toes!
My preferred style is D. My secondary style is C. Both are task focused but C is slower and more detail oriented than D.