"Oops, I did it again," Brittany Spears once famously sang. In her hit song, Brittany laments delivering a message that led to an admirer's confusion. She meant one thing, he heard something different. Sound familiar?
Well, Brittany's not the only one whose communication has left someone baffled. Fortunately for her, she's made a lot of money from her puzzling conversation. Unfortunately for the rest of us, unclear communication on our parts can be quite costly.
Don't Do a Data Dump
Women are amazing at assimilating and managing endless details. But what works for us can also work against us—especially when we speak to buyers. For example, women have a keen ability to make mountains of complex information appear crystal clear. All well and good…until a catalog's worth of features and benefits have been unloaded onto an unsuspecting prospect. What was meant to be a clear-cut conversation quickly devolves into a data dump.
Eliminate Paralysis by Analysis
If you spew out pertinent facts and figures at the speed of light, it actually slows the sales process down to a crawl. Many a well-intentioned seller has been left to wonder what went wrong. "I provided more than enough information," you rationalize. "The client should have been able to make an informed decision."
Regrettably, giving all that information was the problem. Wading through a stack of pros and cons can leave a buyer gasping, "Stop, I beg you!" as paralysis by analysis sets in.
Use the Less-is-More Approach
Avoid overwhelming your client with details by employing the less-is-more technique. When you speak, simply break your information into small chunks. Here's what this might sound like:
"The X-R-3 model has a turbo-charged motor."
Take a breath. Now begin again:
"It does the job 10 times faster than the X-R-2 model."
The less-is-more technique makes it easy for your customer to stay focused on details. It also enables them to process the fine points one step at a time.
Give Your Buyer a Time-Out
It's not just kids who need a time-out; they can be a good thing for buyers, too. Once you deliver your information, give the person some breathing space. Even a few minutes of silence can assist someone to process what they just heard. When given the opportunity to digest information, it becomes easier to consider how your solutions will benefit them, their family, team, or company.
Tune into Your Buyer's Wavelength
The only way to know for certain your communication was on target is to tune into your buyer's wavelength. There are several key questions you can ask, including: "Is there anything you need clarified?" "What else would you like to know? "What questions do you have?"
Listen to Hear "Yes!"
Deliver your information in manageable chunks. It makes it easier for your buyer to make on-the-spot buying decisions. Then you can breathe a sigh of relief as you hear, "Yes that'll work!"
Kelly McCormick is a regular columnist for SMM, in addition to the author of the forthcoming book "OutSell Yourself." To obtain her sales e-tips, in addition to information on her sessions, keynote talks, and tele-classes, visit www.outsellyourself.com or call 800-889-9637.