‘Uh’, ‘Umm’, Make Communications a Strength!

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.

We will spend a couple of posts over the next few weeks talking about communication.  It is an art 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

I had a professional who worked with me 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 that 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 though 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 my 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.

If you do the videotaping or the partnering, you will have an avenue to begin working on the necessary improvements.  Nothing is like continuous improvement.  Try it, and you will see what I mean.

Your comments are welcome.

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