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Message Received = More Money!!!!

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Jack Nicholson played a scrappy no-nonsense Colonel in the movie “A Few Good Men.” When giving orders to his men the Colonel often asked “are we clear?” the correct answer was always “crystal” as in crystal clear. When communicating with our prospects being understood should not be something subject to interpretation. It should be clear, unambiguous and succinct. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the military training that fosters this “in-your-face” type of communication. On second thought I am not sure that your prospects may be entirely ready for it either! Nevertheless, you and your prospects deserve to be understood. It’s a waste of everybody’s time and counterproductive for each party to a conversation to take away a different meaning. Today let’s talk about the ways we can ensure that your message is received.

There are three primary techniques to ensure your prospect and you are on the same wavelength:

 

1. Clarity
2. Repetition.
3. Check questions.

It goes without saying, if your prospect doesn’t understand what it is you’re saying you are safe to assume he isn’t receiving your message. Yet, this is the number one reason salespeople don’t convey the message they want to their prospect. Some of us are masters of the ad-hoc conversation; we can start a conversation on any subject and skillfully build an understandable chain of logic interspersed with humor, anecdotes and facts that impart knowledge to the prospect. Just as many of us find it necessary to follow a more scripted presentation that has milestones along the way so that we are sure that we say what needs to be said in the correct order.

Here’s an important point that many of us often miss: The order that you say something as well as the emphasis you place on points within your presentation is essential to its comprehension. People need assistance in understanding issues that may be complex. By spoon feeding the information in a logical manner while at the same time highlighting what is important you are much more likely to make your message both understandable and memorable. You remove what I call the “Oh, I get it” moment that sometimes occurs seconds, minutes or hours after you have said something. This is very destructive to your control of the situation. When someone does not understand what has just been said and you’ve moved on to the next point, the presentation may be effectively over; you just don’t know it yet. They’re still concentrating on the last point that they didn’t grasp.

Experts speak unequivocally about the need for repetition in learning. When you are presenting, you are teaching. How many times you repeat something should be in direct proportion to the importance of the message you’re imparting. There are no hard and fast rules on the number of repetitions it takes to get a thought firmly implanted in your prospect’s mind. If the concept is familiar and the prospect is sharp, one time might do it. If the subject is boring and the prospect disinterested, 20 times may not be enough. Of course, you would be long gone if you attempted to say the same thing 20 times to someone! Obviously, use your judgment each time as to what to repeat, how often and exactly when in the presentation.

The use of check questions is a tool you will frequently use to gauge your prospect’s retention. A check question is simply a question you ask of your prospect that reinforces some point in your presentation that you want to get across. For example, an advantage of our Bid Facts report is an ability to select projects that match any one of seven bid types. This might be quite valuable to a prospect. The check question might be “Which of these bid types suits your business?” The answer to the question should be quite instructive on what was retained and what was not. Use check questions as a normal part of your presentation as a kind of quality check on yourself.

All of us want to be sure our message is received and understood. It would be easier if, at the end of the presentation we could, like Jack Nicholson say, “are we understood!” and the prospect would reply with a crisp “crystal.” Unfortunately, we don’t have that option. Always remember that it’s not the passer who scores, it’s the receiver. Utilize the techniques addressed in this article and watch your closing soar.

Good Selling!

Allan J. Feifer
CEO New Business America, LLC
DEC International, Inc.

2850 Johnson Ferry Road
Marietta, GA 30062

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