Good communication is always a challenge whether you're on the phone, having lunch with a customer, or presenting to a large group of people. Your issue is that much of your business success depends on your skills as a good communicator. The more clear and precise your message, the better it will be understood by your potential customers. The better your communication skills the more your customers will refer your business or service to others.
Many people in business make three major mistakes when they talk to other people. First, they talk too much.
We have all found ourselves in that situation, over eager, self-absorbed, running off at the mouth. Talking too much is often nothing more than a sign of nerves. You meet a customer for the first time and you are worried you will not be able to tell her all the wonderful things about your business that she should know.
The simplest way to know when you're talking too much is to look at the body language of the other person. If she is avoiding eye contact, yawning, looking around, or better yet, looking at her watch, you know it's either time to change the subject or for you to stop talking. Think of always asking your customer about her business.
Tell me about your business. See what her response will be. Then just listen and relax. This will also let the customer know that you are genuinely interested in her and you are not only meeting with her to sell her something. Listening to her answers will also give you a better idea about what's important to her and how much better you can target her wants and needs.
The second mistake in communication is using what I call technobabble. You are using your business technology language or research terms or retail gobbilygook in the conversation and your customer has no clue what you're discussing. It's a common error because we all know our industry so well that we tend to speak in its jargon.
Simplify your language so others can relate to it.
The final error we make is being too general when we make a request. Most realtors, for example, ask if you know anyone who is looking to buy or sell a home. That statement will probably go in one ear and out the other. It's just not important enough and doesn't conjure up an image.
On the other hand, if the realtor ask for people who want to sell their homes because they are downsizing, several people might come to mind. The more specific you are, the more clues you leave in the listener's mind.
Good communication comes with practice. Keep these three errors in mind and practice communicating a better way.