Positive Communication

Previously we said we would be providing more articles that will give communication training tips for sales people, so here is another in the series which looks at how we can communicationcommunicate negative information or refuse requests in a more positive manner to the customer. Whilst the information in this article is primarily aimed at sales people, it is also applicable to those in sales support roles and customer service positions.

In recent years quite a lot of emphasis has been placed on the importance of being positive when dealing with customers. We are told to be positive in the way we think; positive in the way we act and positive in in the way we speak. Therefore, it stands to reason that all communications that a sales person has with one of their customers should be positive.

However, if your conversation with a customer contains negative information or refusals we need to be particularly careful. The unskilled communicator can easily get this wrong. The result is often that the customer is lead to believe that you are being uncooperative and reluctant to be of service to them. This creates a negative association in their minds and they are less likely to buy from you in the future.

The following are phrases which should always be avoided in a conversation you have with a customer:

“We haven’t got it”
“That can’t be done, unfortunately”
“Mrs Jones isn’t here”
“I don’t know”.

So how can we ensure we communicate this negative information better? There are two options. Either you supplement the negative information with something that can be done, or you express yourself positively.

Taking the above negative phrases as examples, and using the two techniques for being positive we would instead say:

“X is out of stock at the moment, but I can offer you Z...”
“We could arrange things so that we”
“Mr Williams is standing in for Mrs Jones. Would you like to speak with him?”
“I don’t know, but let me find out for you…”

The key to speaking in a more positive fashion is to always think before you open your mouth! A little care is needed when formulating negative information into a more positive turn of phrase. Communication training for salespeople  is essential so that they learn how to use these methods confidently – it could very well be the difference between sales success and sales failure!