Talking So They’ll Listen

I just came home from a sales training session in Atlanta, GA, and we discussed some tips for talking so they’ll listen. In particular, we discussed the results of a brain dominance test that measures how you prefer to make decisions, receive information, and generally deal with people. This is similar to many different personality tests, but the results of this particular session really hit home for me.

First, I found out that I’m basically completely different than all my colleagues. Well, I already knew this! A few differences that I am well aware of: I’m a girl, I’m young, I’m “creative” instead of “technical”, I’m fast-paced and “hyper”, and I have no experience in the industry instead of 15-25 years’ experience in aviation. These obvious differences present their own challenges, but the brain dominance test revealed that I prefer to look at the big picture, instead of focusing in on every detail. Literally ALL of my colleagues are more detail-oriented vs. considering the entire picture. Neither way is right or wrong, but it sheds a little light on a particular challenge I’ve been facing with the implementation of the CRM.

To me, implementing the Customer Relationship Management System is a strategic move to improve data collection, analysis, and sharing at all levels of the organization, and across all functions of the organization. To my sales reps, it’s an extra 20 minutes each day doing data entry. I see reports of aggregate data that tell a story about the market and our place in the market, and my reps see customers’ names and phone numbers, completely unrelated to the market as a whole. Thus, while I’m hammering home the point about how great it is for everyone, they’re tuned out because they don’t see the value for their day-to-day operations.

It’s not rocket science that people think differently, learn differently, and make decisions differently. But talking so they’ll listen is pretty difficult, and if you’re not even sure what language they’re speaking, you’ll have miscommunications. Now that I know what language makes them listen, I’m going to start giving more detail about how the CRM provides value to them on a day-to-day basis, instead of painting such a broad picture. This is just one area that I’ve missed the mark in communicating benefits, and business requires you to move out of your communication comfort zone on a regular basis. So, next time you’re making your pitch (not just the sales pitch, but the “give me a raise” pitch, the “lower my rate for advertising” pitch, or the “my department needs better software” pitch), do you know what language your AUDIENCE is speaking? Do you know what words will make them hear you? Dig into their heads a little, and dig into your head a little, and use the information to find a way to talk so they’ll listen!

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