The business trade press has published volumes about how selling requires intense strategy and calculated thinking. I think this is mostly hogwash. Stop trying to out-think your customers. Instead, try to understand the customers’ wants and needs—then act accordingly. Selling is a lot more like checkers than chess.

Being understood by your customer may be the most important aspect of selling. If they don’t get what you said, then you are setting yourself up for big problems which could include false expectations, confusion, resentment, or even worse, a lost customer. Generally speaking, being misunderstood is avoidable.

Here are few ideas to help you be better understood by your customers:

– Speak slowly. Say what you mean and say no more. Don’t fill the dead air with unnecessary words.
– Avoid clichés which can be misunderstood or misinterpreted.
– Slow down, stop talking, and listen. Listen to what the customer has to say about what you said. Give them time to react.
– Ask if they understand you. Pause and verify that they got it. If not, try again.
– Repeat what you said. Repeat what you said. Repeat what you said.
– Give examples of what you mean. Be specific.
– Tell stories. Facts tell and stories sell. Stories help the other person visualize what you mean. Stories are also remembered.
– Put what you said in writing. This helps avoid “he said she said” situations. Written statements can also smoke out misunderstandings.
– Always tell the truth. This way you won’t have to remember anything.

Think checkers, not chess.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.

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