How you choose to approach people will either contribute to or detract from your success in each interaction you have. Your approach will either help or hinder your ability to connect with someone, and it can start to build either trust or distrust almost immediately. Your approach can have a critical impact on your success, since many people show up to a sales interaction feeling somewhat uncomfortable. You can easily set the tone during your first interaction, whether it’s in person, via email or on the phone, by training yourself to do these few things:
This makes such a difference and is easy to overlook when you’re busy and trying to accomplish a lot. A smile warms you up and sends the signal to the other person that you’re connecting and inviting. Smiles convey over the phone by softening your voice, and they convey via email by softening your words. There’s been a lot of research conducted on smiling. Here’s a link to one of my favorites on the Duchenne smile.
A deep breath can ground you, get you back into your body and prepare you for the conversation that’s about to happen. Grounding will make you more clear-headed, and getting into your body will allow you to be more connected to yourself and to the other person. As someone who has spent a lot of time outside their body (meaning that physically I was here, and mentally I was somewhere else), I can tell you that the disconnect that you experience when you’re not fully in your body will show up in your interactions with other people.
3. GET PRESENT
When you’re attempting to multitask while you’re having an important conversation, you’re wasting your time. I’ve been on both sides of this occurrence, and neither works. You will end up spending more time either cleaning up the awkwardness of the conversation or trying to remember what happened during the conversation you pretended to have. I’ve witnessed many personal trainers and salespeople who were checking texts during conversations with clients and prospects, and most seem to have no awareness of the negative reactions of the people with whom they were pretending to be communicating.
4. STAY CONNECTED TO YOURSELF
If you’re not connected to yourself, a listener will have a challenge connecting with you. It’s hard work to listen to someone who is speaking when they’re not connected to themselves. The disconnected speaker does not speak in a way that makes listening enjoyable or enriching. As a listener, you’re working hard to focus and concentrate on the speaker’s words because they don’t follow a natural flow when the speaker isn’t connected to themselves. And, you’re also attempting to interpret the meaning of the words they’re saying as you try to make sense of them.
The key to staying connected to yourself when you’re talking is to direct only 75 percent of your energy and attention to the conversation you’re having. The other 25 percent needs to be directed inwards, to yourself, to identify how you’re feeling. The 25 percent is your reminder to check-in, and it will naturally connect you to yourself, which will greatly improve your connection with the other person. Your feelings will give you indications of how things are going in the conversation and whether or not you need to change course or get back to listening.
If you’re not connected to yourself, you might be hearing, but you’re not listening. Listening is a skill that improves with practice.
“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.” – W. Clement Stone
Karen Joy is a strategic growth consultant to companies in the fitness, health and wellness sector. Her team provides cutting-edge, mindful sales and marketing strategies and training programs to growing companies, both virtual and physical. Email her at [email protected] or call 858-248-1553.