You might think an article entitled, The Importance of Communication Skills in Business, is not going to tell you anything new if you’ve been in business for a while. This article will show you why you need excellent communication skills in business, but also in what ways.
Using all the means of communication these days requires a high level of communication skills and practice. Without doing the proper research on your target market and identifying exactly where they will be, you’ll simply be shooting the dark. Use this article as a guide to help you start thinking about better ways to sell and market your business. At the very least, you’ll have some good ideas about what you can add this quarter.
Communication Skills and Etiquette Changes
Communication skills and etiquette go hand-in-hand in the business world. Business is changing every day and relationships evolve, so the need for your communication skills to evolve with it is something you should measure and adapt frequently.
The etiquette of texting versus phone calls, video chats, and face-to-face interactions is difficult to describe across all industries. Pinpointing the right strategy and the tools you use takes experience and a right vision to make the right decisions. Coming from a place of customer service is always a great place to start, but evolving the conversation from service to sales can be tricky on all communication devices.
Here’s where enhancing your communication skills comes into play…
Texting is a great tool, but might not be the best place to sell your product. It’s great for scheduling and disseminating information at the beginning of the sales cycle. It’s also a great place to follow up, because most sales cycles aren’t an instant sale. Whether or not you should try and close deals with text is up to you, but from what I’ve seen it’s extremely difficult.
Face-to-face forms of communication are also evolving to video chats and automated webinars. The time and costs associated with traditional forms of sales and marketing make these options much more appealing even if their effectiveness is slightly less. By carefully enhancing your communication skills all of the options to communicate with your clientele become available and businesses find more ways to be more profitable.
Texting vs. Phone Calls
If you haven’t noticed, millennials prefer texting over phone conversations. This goes for business too. Shocking right?
Actually, most people these days prefer texting for the convenience of answering when they’re available.
Texting is not essential for every type of business, but for scheduling and mild sales approaches, texting is preferable. Many marketers are utilizing tools like Many Chat, Olark, and others to speed up the sales cycle. Check out this article to for the top ten SMS marketing tools available today.
Texting is difficult for some due to the lack of emotional connection and body language. According to Dr. Jeff Thompson at Beyond Words, “the belief is that 55% of communication is body language, 38% is the tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words spoken.”
Improving your ability to text is not something you can do overnight, but here are some definite do’s and don’ts with texting that you should make sure you implement now.
Do be very specific when responding and offer “above and beyond” answers to the questions you are asked. Do use correct punctuation and explain emotions when needed.
If you can you should use emojis, however, they are looked at in a bad way by novice texters and some professionals. However, using emojis can be a huge help to explain concepts that require body language and emotional innuendo.
If misunderstandings are occurring, try to persuade the customer to move to a phone call.
Don’t be sarcastic or inside jokes. It is easy to be misunderstood while texting especially if you’re texting someone that English is not their first language. Even small cultural differences across the country can create misunderstandings. Simply put, don’t assume anything.
Don’t get into long conversations over text. Use texting for scheduling and short information stints to entice a phone conversation if in a sales conversation. If you have good rapport and an existing relationship continue to text as you see fit.
Video Chats vs. Face-to-Face
As B2B businesses recognize where they can save the most money without sacrificing the effectiveness of their sales process, they will undoubtedly find live video for sales meetings is an adequate substitute for face-to-face meetings. Not every industry is ready for such a jump, but it’s certainly becoming the norm to systematically remove outside sales representatives.
The math isn’t that difficult to understand when you consider the costs and liabilities sending an employee to the customer instead of having them in-house.
Face-to-face sales are always easier than video, phone, and texting. However, with excellent communication skills for all mediums, a sales representative can make sales without the overhead of flights, car rentals, tee-times, hotels, and dinners. These activities are quickly becoming a thing of the past in the majority of sales organizations, for obvious reasons.
How can you improve your communication skills with video? If you’re good at face-to-face meetings, the video won’t be that much different. The key is to ensure your video quality, internet connection, and the sound is top notch. Spending the extra money to ensure your meeting go off without a hitch can sometimes be the make or break of the deal. Also, make sure your appearance and the area around you video-friendly. You might remember this rather humorous video …
Customer Relationship Management – CRM
If you’re struggling to keep customers and attract new ones, you should look at the messages you’re sending with customer service. Today, there is plenty of data to support the idea that customers assume the product will have some issues, but how you react to them is what ultimately determines the long-term success of your business.
Having strong communication skills is paramount to creating a solid relationship with your customers. Adding a customer relationship management (CRM) system is a great way to ensure you stay knowledgeable over time, especially when most companies have their employees handling multiple accounts.
Good CRMs like Salesforce are a great way to create contracts, take notes, and measure the effectiveness of your business in all its stages. If you’re not using one right now, you should. Your business depends on it.
Sales Via Text Social Media – iSelling or Social Selling
Social selling is highly advantageous to many savvy social media and people that have a high level of communication skills. It’s doesn’t have the same kind of conversion as face-to-face or video chats, but it is highly useful for the beginning stages of the sales cycle.
My favorite place to attract more business is LinkedIn, Twitter, then Instagram. Each of these platforms requires a different strategy and set of communication skills, but they are all equally effective depending on the industry you choose.
Instagram is very popular among creatives, fitness gurus, motivational speakers, but there is plenty of variety among all industries. The key to success is how closely are companies monitoring their profiles, is the profile manager in a position of power, and how do they value their Instagram account.
Twitter has a little more of a corporate vibe but has a healthy mix like Instagram. Once again it depends on how active the account is.
LinkedIn has an almost every kind of business. It’s become the standard to have a LinkedIn account rather than a Twitter and Instagram. If you’re looking for a good place to start developing your business. LinkedIn would be my first choice.
Presentation Skills Via Webinars
A blog about communication skills in business would not be complete without talking about presentations and the modern application of webinars. Why not clone your efforts and make each presentation you give reach thousands or more instead of one group.
This is the tactic of so many companies these days. With tools like WebinarJam, you can cheaply give tailored sales presentations that make it easy to get more clients for your digital product or at least get them talking to a live sales representative.
The game is figuring out how much you should warm up your audience. If you’re selling something with a short sales cycle, webinars are a great way to go for the close, but if your clients require more information, use webinars as an automated introduction. The choice depends on a lot of things and only experimentation will uncover the truth.
Automation Communication Etiquette
Automation is not going away in the online marketing world. Everyone seems to be adding more and more of it while consumers are seemingly unaware of what is hitting them. Unfortunately, this is the dark truth of automation.
If you’re trying to give your business a quick boost in a less expensive way, automation is a great way to go if you’re communication skills or in this case, copywriting chops are up to snuff. Without the proper copywriting you’re PPC ads, email sequences, and recorded sales webinars will fall flat on their face and leave you confused as to why they are not working.
Key the dark truth above. You need to make sure your sales and marketing automation messages are designed with the consumer in mind. This means your message needs to 1-up their stage of awareness by providing new and useful information.
Simply put you need to investigate what kind of automation and sales pitches your competitors are giving to your customers. If you’re not coming from your own perspective simply copy and pasting old sales techniques, your customers will not purchase your products.
Tying It All Together
I hope you understand that communication skills go way beyond the words you use. It’s the total package that sells the message you convey and having complete communication skills will allow you to deliver the best possible message at the right time.
For more information on best practices for online business in today’s world, click on the link for more information.