3 Forgotten Sales Tools...
Digital has enabled the development of cost effective selling to wide spread audiences. Sending an email or a message via social media provides an opportunity to connect with hundreds of potential buyers cheaply, quickly and with relatively little effort. Yet in some cases digital channels are regarded as impersonal and less human, with the delayed two-way interaction interrupting the natural flow of conversation.
It has been established that 81%* of managers felt Human Interaction made them feel more valued than non-HI methods. Building a positive relationship with a potential buyer is fundamental to new and repeat business, so what are some of the hidden and less obvious ingredients of HI that help build rapport:
Body: Relevant to both field sales and interaction via video conferencing or Skype, body language is a valuable tool. Interpreting body language can signal when further information is required, or when a deal can be closed. Physical behaviour can also be a signal to change tact, increase energy or even pause for silence.
Example: Client may nod to signal they are in agreement with the information being received; hands are often used to signal that enough info has been given. Crossed arms can indicate that the client is not in agreement or staring into space/out of a window may indicate the client is disinterested.
Appearance: Just as branding is included within an email to present an image of your company, appearance in HI can communicate a lot. Creative industries often have a more casual and laid back approach, it can therefore be advantageous to mirror this style in order to build rapport. A meeting with members of the corporate industry, like solicitors, is an opportunity to present a smart, tailored appearance which again indicates shared values and work ethics.
Example: Scenarios such as a meeting or video call with a swanky marketing agency (the type of laid back, casual denim environment) require thought and reflection. Companies may find it effective to mirror this relaxed attitude to create an affinity. However certain sectors may wish to remain corporate as this is what is expected (good lawyers turn up in suits not jeans and a t-shirt).
Voice: An invaluable element within the selling process, voice conversations are a key selling tool. Tone, intonation and rhythm are extremely effective in building a rapport and expressing an idea or persuading a potential client. It is extremely difficult to accurately express energy, humour or calmness within an email or written text. Voice conversations offer the ability to quickly build a positive relationship with a client and cut down the time it can take to arrange a meeting or sell a product. In reverse, voice conversations enable sellers to detect any hostility or irritation in the client and can work to deter any negative reactions.
Example: Hesitation is far easier to counteract through using your voice. Within an email hesitation is often communicated as the end of the conversation... “I will think it over and get back to you”, “I haven’t come to a decision”. However, hesitation in a phone conversation can be neatly overcome by humour or a change in subject matter, which again takes you closer to a sale.
Do take caution; there is a thin line between correctly interpreting a client’s appearance and making assumptions which can easily backfire horrendously. This also applies to voice and body language as obvious mirroring can be off-putting. The most effective sales and marketing technique is indeed a combination of several methods, and involves subtly combining these forgotten tools alongside digital for a powerful multi-channel approach.