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Tag Archives: Para-verbal communication

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How to be Heard

Trevor No Comments

How to be Heard by Daniel Shipley

In sales, one of the hardest things that a salesperson can feel is unheard. Sometimes as sales people, we feel as though we have such an amazing thing, that if people would just give us a couple of seconds to hear about it they would all want what we have. However a lot of people open the door to hear your sales pitch only to think, eh another sales person. With that mentality, how are sales people ever to sell anything.

The answer really is simple, be different, however the explanation and understanding is what is hard. People like to buy from people they like or things that remind them of themselves. However that first impression, people are really looking for something that will grab their attention immediately and show them that this is different and it is worth their time to listen. Trevor Clayton, CEO of International Business Academy, tells me time and time again that their success as a company comes from them being different. All the companies in Guatemala who are teaching here are doing something the same way. They have these great facilities and supplies, but it can be inconvenient to a lot of people because of the travel cost. Trevor has built his company based off the fact that, “we will come to yochart communu.”

The great big question is though how do you get past the beginning stage so that you can portray your message at how you are different. One method that I have found useful is the use of non-verbal and para-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication attributes to about 55 percent of what is perceived and para-verbal communication attributes to about 38 percent. That means together, 93 percent of communication is related to not even saying anything, but how we say it and what we are doing when we say something.

 

What I have found in my own sales experience is that positive vibes create great selling atmospheres. First impressions really do matter, so whenever I walk into a sales meeting, or I am doing an elevator pitch, I try to put on a huge smile so that the other person will mimic my smile. This may sound weird, but by doing this you will get them to smile and positive endorphins will be released inside them. By giving off a huge smile, this is an example of non-verbal communication that I do in order to make sure the sales process starts off smoothly.

Non-verbal communication is generally portrayed through facial expressions and also through postures and gestures. According to an article titled, Communication Skills by Rod Windle and Suzanne Warren, they said this about facial expressions and also posture and gestures,

“Facial Expression: The face is perhaps the most important conveyor of emotional information. A face can light up with enthusiasm, energy, and approval, express confusion or boredom, and scowl with displeasure. The eyes are particularly expressive in telegraphing joy, sadness, anger, or confusion.

Over-Exaggeration-2Postures and Gestures: Our body postures can create a feeling of warm openness or cold rejection. For example, when someone faces us, sitting quietly with hands loosely folded in the lap, a feeling of anticipation and interest is created. A posture of arms crossed on the chest portrays a feeling of inflexibility. The action of gathering up one’s materials and reaching for a purse signals a desire to end the conversation.”

Depending on different things that you do with your body, this will depend on how the message is received and how we are heard. In sales, I always had the rule that if I didn’t have the person within the first 10 seconds, then I lost the sale. Working in the door to door industry, I would try to notice something different about each house so that when I got to the door I would have something to spark conversation. Usually it was about a car they had, or their garden, or just something I noticed about the house. Building credibility is huge as well and so I would always start off my sales pitch by bringing up people that they would know that I have been talking to as well. Again, while doing all of this; keeping a big smile on my face, straight posture, and maintaining eye contact but breaking once in awhile to avoid awkwardness. Non-verbal communication was crucial to my sales because I had it mastered down in terms of the psychology in selling.

By being aware of my facial features and also my posture and gestures, I would help people feel comfortable enough to enjoy what I was selling, and made the yes’ come a lot easier.

Another important technique to being heard is used through para-verbal communication. In the article, it defines para-verbal communication this way, “Para-verbal communication refers to the messages that we transmit through the tone, pitch, and pacing of our voices. It is how we say something, not what we say. Professor Mehrabian states that the para-verbal message accounts for approximately 38% of what is communicated to someone. A sentence can convey entirely different meanings depending on the emphasis on words and the tone of voice. For example, the statement, “I didn’t say you were stupid” has six different meanings, depending on which word is emphasized.”

Para-verbal communication was another really big part of my communication in sales. They way I said words would portray how confident I was in my product. People can read right through you if you are not confident it what you are selling. One way I would stay positive is in the mirror or in the shower I would repeat to myself every morning that what I was selling truly was the best product out there and that I was helping people’s lives by what I was doing. In para-verbal communication you can be confident, but if you are not using your para-verbal correctly, you can completely give off the wrong message. For example read this sentence one way where you end the last word with an up pitch in your voice and then with a down pitch in your voice.

  • I have the best product in the world.

You can literally be saying the same sentence, but if I say the last word in an up pitch, it sounds like I am questioning myself and that I am not confident in what I’m saying. In retrospect, if I am saying this last word in a down pitch, it just sounds more confident and more like I believe in what I am saying.

vivint_selling_door_to_door_300pxIn door to door sales, we have a saying as to not throw up on the person’s front door. Now literally you really shouldn’t do that, but that is not what we were referring to. You don’t want to speak too quickly, or give out too much information on the door step, or office, or wherever you may be. Some people when they are not getting a lot of sales and getting rejected a lot tend to do this more often because they are literally expecting the no. Be calm, cool, collected and find out the needs of the customer first so that you know how to proceed with your sales presentation.

The article gives us some examples of what to remember for para-verbal communication. “…When we are angry or excited, our speech tends to become more rapid and higher pitched. When we are bored or feeling down, our speech tends to slow and take on a monotone quality. When we are feeling defensive, our speech is often abrupt.”

If you want to be heard, don’t be afraid to speak up and say what you need to say. But by being aware of your non-verbal and para-verbal communication, you will be a lot more successful at actually getting the person to HEAR you instead of just letting you talk. There are other things you can do with para-verbal communication as well such as preplanned physical things you do in order to maintain the attention, but I will leave it at this for now. I am curios if anybody out there has any experience with how non-verbal or para-verbal communication helped them get the sale, or lose the sale. What are you experiences?

 

Windle, Rod, and Suzanne Warren. “CADRE Resources.” Ideas That Work, n.d. Web. 16 Feb. 2016.

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