Sales professionalism 12

By:  Dr. M. Shehab

All rights reserved to the writer

 Communication skills


After completing the sales call steps we are talking today about communication. Just go back to the second article and review the definition of personal selling; it’s communication activity between sales person and customer. Personal selling is also way of marketing communication between company and its customers.

Communication skills are important determinants of your success, both in the workplace and in your personal life. Communicating effectively with individuals and groups is an important life skill.

What is communication?

Communication is the transmission and exchange of facts, ideas, feelings or courses of action. It is a bridge of meanings among people so that they can share what they feel and know. Therefore, communication is not just the obvious way of verbalizing, but it covers spoken and written words, pictures, attitudes, gestures, facial expressions and even silence.

Communication always involves two parts listening and speaking. Seek first to understand then to be understood this statement is the basic of communication. We can say that understand by listening and to be understood by speaking.

Communication process:

New Picture

The process starts with the sender, the source of the message to be communicated. The sender has some thoughts and ideas he wishes to communicate to the receiver. In personal selling, this is the customer or the salesperson.

The sender encodes the ideas into a message (product message) and transmits this message to the receivers. The receiver must decode the message and try to understand what the sender intends to communicate. In personal selling, the customer receives the salesperson’s messages, and vice versa.

When the message has been received and decoded, the receiver may provide verbal and nonverbal feedback that indicates how well the message was decoded.

Effective communication involves a two-way flow of information. The two parties in the communication process act as both sender and receiver. The sender sends the message to the receiver and receives feedback from the receiver who acts as the sender. A two-way communication improves the effectiveness and accuracy of communications.  The two-way communication is much more satisfying from the receiver’s point of view. People enjoy participating in conversation and getting the opportunity to express themselves.

There are three channels of communication called 3V; Verbal, Vocal and visual

1-    Verbal communication (about 5-7% impact).

New Picture (1)

Messages are encoded into words and words have different meanings to different people. The true meaning of a word is not in the word itself, or how the receiver interprets it but it is the senders’ intention when using this word.  Words have different meanings in different cultures. Words can be abstract or concrete, as well as emotional or neutral. To avoid a communication breakdown, we should never assume that everyone understands what we are saying. Also, we should never assume we understand what others are saying.

In verbal communication you must use clear, accurate and meaningful words in the same language of receiver. If you want to send a message to any one keep it (KISS) means; keep it simple and short.

2-    Vocal communication (about 38-40% impact): means your voice which reflects your enthusiasm in front of your customer. Try to modify your voice by these four characters called 4Ps:

Pitch: Inflection; to vary your pitch according to the importance of the expression you are using. Avoid monotone of your speaking.

Pause: Articulation of voice, Pause from time to time to take your breath.

Power: loudness of voice, it’s the ability to increase the power of our voice.

Pace: Speech rate; the pace is clearly the speed at which we speak. That too needs to vary during presentation to maintain audience interest in our material. You can practice these four characters to get your customer attention

3-    Visual communication (non-verbal)

New Picture (2)

This is using body language and facial expression. It represents more than two thirds of our communication (about 53-55% impact). it is basically an unconscious language. It has many channels like; Body angle, Face, Arms, Hands and Legs. Non-verbal communication has also some Patterns like; Power, Suspicion, Nervousness, Uncertainty, Disagreement, Evaluation, Boredom and Cooperation.

Sales person can use these three channels in his sales call so personal selling is the best marketing communication way as we discuss before because it’s face to face, it can give fast response to customer and quantity of information is very high.




Talking is not communicating. To be effective in your communication you must strive to eliminate the barriers to communication and clear the air to allow the real message to come through.  One way of removing barriers is to listen. Actual listening is the most critical aspect of effective communication.

New Picture (3)

Listening                   40%                                                    Reading         15%

 Speaking                  35%                                                    Writing         10%

People are able to speak at a rate of 130-160 words per minute and can listen to over 800 words per minute. Because of the difference in speed, people often get lazy when listening. We can remember only 50% of what is said immediately after it is said.

Effective listening is not a passive activity, not just hearing what others are saying Hearing is with the ears but listening is with the mind. Effective listening means actively thinking while we listen. Active listening means we attempt to comprehend as much information as possible.  Listening is an active process, and a good speaker’s mind is alert.

Levels of Listening:

  • Ø Ignoring Listening Not really listening at all, Making no effort to listen.
  • Ø Pretending Listening Yeah! Huh… Right, giving the appearance you listens.
    • Ø Selective Listening Hearing certain parts of the conversation, Hearing only what interest you
    • Ø Attentive Listening, Paying attention on what the speaker says and comparing that to your own experience.
    • Ø Empathic Listening, Listening and responding with both the heart and mind to understand the speaker’s words, intent, and feelings.


Ten command for effective communication:

1– Seeking to clarify your ideas before communicating; the more systematically we analyze the problem or idea to be communicated the clearer it will become (be crystal clear).

2- Examining the true purpose of the communication; what do we wish to accomplish? Do we wish to obtain information, initiate action or change the other person’s attitude?

3- Considering the total physical and human setting whenever communicating; Remember, meanings and intentions are conveyed by more than not only words. For example, attempting to change someone’s attitude is unlikely to succeed when you are talking to the person you wish to influence with groups of other people around.

4- Consulting others where appropriate in planning your communication; such consultation often helps to lend additional insight and objectivity to your message. Moreover, those who have helped you plan your communication will give it their active support.

5- Being mindful while you communicate; be aware of overtones and non-verbal messages as well as the basic content of your message. Your tone of voice, your expressions, and your apparent receptiveness to the responses of others all have tremendous impacts on those you wish to reach or influence.

6-Taking the opportunity when it arises to convey something of help or value to the receiver; Consideration of the other person’s interests and needs, the habit of trying to look at things from his point of view will frequently point up opportunities to convey something of immediate benefit or long-term value to him.

7- Following up your communication Look for feedback; make sure that each communication has got a strong feedback. Make sure the message you wish to convey is the one being received. Look for non-verbal signs in the receiver of the communication that will give you valuable clues. Encourage the receiver to express his reaction.

8-Communicating for tomorrow as well as today;  Remember that you have to return again. Therefore, don’t give a message today that may solve the immediate problem but in doing so create other problems for you at the next time round. Maintain consistency.

9- Being sure your actions support your communication; the most persuasive kind communication is not what you say but what you do.

10-Seeking not only to understand but to be understood as well;  be a good listener. When we start talking we often cease to listen. Always make attempts to put yourself in the other person’s position and see things through, don’t concentrate only on the implicit meaning.

The next article will be about adaptive selling (customers’ styles) and how sales person can tailor his communication style according to customers’ styles.

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