Communications 911! A Sales Dilemma!

It is well known that your ability to communicate will help to give you a solid base to be an exceptional sales professional.  It won’t make you the consummate professional, but it will enhance your ability to perform.  I feel that the professional, in sales or otherwise, who communicates well and also has a “fire in the belly”, has the potential to outperform other professionals.


Communications and the ability to spin the spoken word is a true asset.  It is an art and a skill that will never abandon you as you go forward, and it will also transform your confidence levels. In this post, we are going to make a suggestion that you find comfort in your ability to “stand and deliver” by rehearsing and practicing frequently.  Know well your strengths and weaknesses and improve to a level that puts you on another level.

Practice, Practice, Practice

I bet that you feel the most boring activity that you feel that you can do is to repeatedly practice your verbal delivery, but I am compelled to advise you to do it.  What I am saying is that you cannot perfect something without the requisite practice.  As a sales professional, everything from your introduction, through your ‘elevator pitch’ (Black Sales Journal 8/11/2011, Know Your Elevator Pitch), to your proposal and your close should be smooth.  There should be no fillers and little chop to your delivery.

So what am I saying?  Do everything necessary to improve your delivery.   Videotape yourself using digital cameras, web cams or otherwise giving speeches and presentations until you have solved you’re your need for ‘fillers’ and until you have reduced any ‘choppiness’.  We have all heard the suggestion that we should be able to sell any object using feature-benefit selling, now is your chance to practice.  Not knowing your material lends to more pauses and fragmentation.  Here is your chance to, while in private, present and evaluate your delivery, and improve.

You can bet that if you videotape, you will find things that you will want to change.

These may include:

  • Frequent use of  “Umm” as well as “and uh”
  • The annoying use of the phrase “You Know”
  • Frequent starting of sentences with “Well…”
  • Improper usage of the word “like”
  • Talking at “break speed”
  • Exhibiting an “I” problem (talking about yourself too much)
  • Inclusion of slang and even obscene language

In a very short time I have seen professionals remove “you know” from their delivery even without the videotape.  Consciousness is important, and you will become even more aware if you use your phone, your computer webcam, or a video camera as your observation tool.

With the help of your recording session, you will become quite conscious and truly internalize it, reducing annoying habits, and improving delivery.  It is worth the experiment.

Who Do You Like to Hear?

There are many great speakers out there, and you may find one that you want to model after.  If you are just the best YOU that you can be, that should work for you.

The basic objective of this exercise is to improve your delivery during the sales process, and you will find that it will carry over into your personal conversations as well.

It is sound to model after someone, but you must be realistic.  Almost all great speakers have some weakness or flaw, no matter how accomplished they are.  You are looking to improve the quality of your delivery.  You don’t want to preach, but you need to be able to deliver the ‘word’.  You don’t want to sound like a professor, but you want to sound intelligent.  Lastly, you don’t want to sound like a funeral director, so you must use some personality, humor, and personality.

Almost as good as the videotape for the sake of monitoring is a “partner” or even a listening coach could do the trick if the right person is available.

The Result

There was a sales professional I worked with for several years ago.  He had a nervous, high-pitched laugh that became pronounced when he got …nervous.  He could not hide it, or at least it appeared  he had no chance of controlling it.  We had a call together, and as the account was a big one, and he felt pressed.  I can remember the call as if it were yesterday, the laugh echoing in my ears.  I was only hoping that the buyer was not as negatively affected by it as I was.

When it was over I thought about it over and over, and decided that I needed to talk to the individual as we, undoubtedly would be on a call together at some point in the future.  He did know that it was happening, and did not know how often he was doing it.  I could not put into words for him how much it was happening.  There were few video cameras, and cell phones did not possess the abilities that they do now.  I limited the calls with our clients when possible for this individual, as there were no remedies out there.  This laugh was not going to stop.  Yes…I am saying that some things are deeper than just an ‘I know’, but most can be remedied.  After our discussion he made some changes, and sounded much better.  Maybe at this point in his professional career he has conquered this issue.

Practice definitely makes perfect!  Smooth your delivery and sharpen your skills.  Your relationships and sales will show it!

Your comments are welcome.

Michael L. Parker –

“Fatigue Makes Cowards Of Us All” Keep Prospecting!

I can never be confused with being a Green Bay Packer fan. But…this statement is true in sports, sales, and life! Resist succumbing to the urge of letting up! Review this post and find the energy to be the best!


Your state of mind is important to your success. It can mean the difference between success and failure, and all points in between.  The job of a sales professional is rigorous and demanding in so many ways.

The tolerance, fortitude, and energy necessary to deal with customer needs and employer demands is not a given all of the time.  You have to be ‘feeling it’ to take care of some of these tasks.

More than anything else you need to be aware of when your peak or optimal work ‘window’ is, as that is were you want to time your most taxing activities.

Mental and Physical Conditioning

Working in this occupation will result in some conditioning that makes you stronger and more ‘fit’.  This happens when you have rhythm in your routine.

There is no area where this aspect of your physical and mental ‘conditioning’ is more important than prospecting and cold calling.  This is a prime area that can ‘tax’ a sales professional.  The rejections, unreturned phone calls, and cumulative frustrations can render a fatigued sales professional incapable of being effective.  You need to be on top of your game to deal with the negatives, and stick to your routine.

I had an opportunity to write about the importance of Mental Toughness and Extra Effort (Black Sales Journal 12/29, Mental Toughness Revisited – An Asset for the Black Sales Professional).  In sales, you must be mentally tough to whether the storm.  Check this post out.

“Fatigue Makes Cowards of us All” (Vincent Lombardi, Coach Green Bay Packers)

I am as far from a Green Bay Packers fan as you can get (Yes…I am a Chicago Bear fan) but you don’t have to be a packer fan to realize the strength of this statement.

The world is chocked full of sports quotations, but this one is a little different.   It is a true and powerful statement that speaks to the fact that when we are mentally or physically tired, we will most likely not be at our best.  When we are tired, we take shortcuts, skip steps, and lose our technique and form.

If you are a veteran, you may have conditioned yourself to have endurance.  If not, I would make the suggestion that you note these short rules:

  • Time your prospecting. Cold call early in the week, and early in the day when you are freshest.  You are less prone to ‘skip’ it, and there are less chance for excuses to win the day.
  • Follow your own rules. Establish your prospecting routines and follow them with consistency including face-to-face and phone prospecting
  • Have an audience. Include your manager on some of your face-to-face prospecting ventures if done in person.  Having your manager with you gives you the energy to do it enthusiastically.
  • Train somebody. Include a trainee with you on your prospecting ventures for the same reason that you would include the manager; it adds energy to a call to have another individual with you.
  • Diligently keep score. Draw energy from knowing your numbers and your success rates.

No Self-Imposed ‘Hells’

Above all, you should avoid heavy use of alcohol and late night romping at sales meetings and conventions as well as with customers.  Be fresh for customers and company interactions.  It is impossible to have the right amount of courage in today’s meeting when you are ‘ripped’ from the activities the night before.

Always be the professional and have the requisite energy to serve the role.