Month: April 2018

Common communication mistakes that even smart salespeople make

Common communication mistakes that even smart salespeople make

Steven Pinker is the Johnstone Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. Whether you enjoy psychology or not, you will increase your understanding of how to be a great salesperson if you understand more about psychology.

Pinker has been listed among Foreign Policy magazine’s “Top 100 Public Intellectuals” and Time’s “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” He is currently chair of the Usage Panel of The American Heritage Dictionary.

In today’s workplace where email and Slack conversations are as common as in-person meetings, the perils of miscommunication are ever-present. And no one is immune.

Pinker, author of writing manual The Sense of Style says the chief impediment to clear communication is a phenomenon called the “curse of knowledge.”

This cognitive bias basically means that “when you know something, it’s extraordinarily difficult to know what it’s like not to know it,” Pinker tells CNBC Make It. “Your own knowledge seems so obvious that you’re apt to think that everyone else knows it, too.”

According to Dr. Pinker, these four strategies can help you overcome the “curse of knowledge.”

  1. Test out your message – Practice your message to others and take their feedback.
  2. Choose your words carefully – You use words to sketch mental pictures, convey ideas and tell stories. To get your point across, consider replacing jargon, idioms and obscure metaphors with short, commonly used words and direct explanations.
  3. Take a break – Another simple way to clarify your writing is to put it aside, and then come back to it after awhile to read it again. Whether you give it a few hours or a few days, returning with fresh eyes can make a big difference.
  4. Edit savagely – Clarifying your message to others can help you be happier and more successful in life and at work, especially when you consider the alternative: miscommunication.

The link below has a much more complete discussion of this topic.

Source: Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker: The No. 1 communication mistake that even smart people make

Six easy tips to stand out on LinkedIn

Six easy tips to stand out on LinkedIn

Paul Castain’s Blog had a great article recently about six ways to stand out on LinkedIn. I thought it was great so I am going to reproduce part of it here. However, you definitely should jump over to read Paul’s complete article as there is much more to Paul’s article than what I have put here.

Here are 6 super easy (and no cost) ways for you to stand out on LinkedIn. As a bonus, they don’t require you to spend massive amounts of time in order to accomplish them!

  1. Send an actual note instead of the impersonal LinkedIn invitation template! Based on my own experience (and polling my followers) 99% of the invitations sent on LinkedIn, come across as impersonal and worse yet, part of a bulk effort to amass legions of “connections”. By the way, you’ll dramatically increase the number of people who actually accept your invite as well.
  2. Say “Thank you” Thank them for accepting your invite. Thank them for sending you an invite and at the end of that “Thank you”ask them a question. Questions, inspire responses, responses create dialogue, dialogue creates propinquity and propinquity helps you stand out.
  3. Every day, LinkedIn gives you conversation starters. They will tell you Everyone in your network who have new jobs, new roles, work anniversaries, birthdays. You’ll find these conversation starters under the notifications tab. Most people use LinkedIn’s sh*tty template for congratulating your connection but; you’re BETTER than that so why don’t you do something NOBODY does; Send a handwritten note via an ancient technology known as “snail mail”. Don’t feel like doing that? Shoot a 59 second video with your message and embed it into an email.
  4. The best questions are the ones where people have strong opinions. Think about the people you’re trying to reach. What do they feel strongly about? What topics do they tend to have strong opinions about? Is there an “elephant in the room” that needs to be addressed.
  5. Remember your manners and respond to those who were kind enough to respond to you. Otherwise you’re going to look like a tool! Whenever I ask the question “How many people, in your network have suggested a quick call to get to know each other?”, the answer is pretty much little to none! And yet, that call is essential in order to create a level of comfort and propinquity necessary for others to buy from us, refer us, help us with a warm intro etc.
  6. You should be continually thinking about people who should know each other in your network. Send them both an email introducing them to each other. Nice way for you to stand out and . . . It has this way of encouraging the recipient to return the favor.

Six super simple ways for you to stand out without spending a dime of your money and without having to spend a ton of time on LinkedIn. Once again, jump over to Paul’s original article and you will learn a lot more.

Photo by TheSeafarer

Be involved in your prospect’s community

Be involved in your prospect’s community

Breathe the same air that your prospects breathe. Be involved in their community so that you can meet them.

When my children went to college, they were excited and frankly a little nervous. There was the prospect of freedom from daily parent supervision. The excitement of new friends. Maybe even the ability to break away from a group of high school cliques that had gone an unfavorable direction.

But the fear was there as well (although they didn’t readily admit it). They knew hundreds of kids in their high school, but could probably list on two hands the number of people they knew at their new college. This was exciting because they were going to make new friends, but it also had fears. What if they didn’t make new friends?

My advice to each was very simple and direct. Join three organizations in the next 30 days. I wanted them to join the community of college life. This advice worked for them. They immediately found others that shared the same interests as them. Those new friends also had friends to introduce them to. Before long, my kids were so busy that they almost forgot about their dear old parents.

As salespeople, we are always looking for new friends. We also want our existing friends to be better friends. Joining community organizations as salespeople is a great way to meet the types of people that can influence our revenue. The immediate person that you meet at the event may not be the best person to close your next deal, but it is likely that person can help to guide.

It is also possible that the group that you join will do good for humankind. If it is a community organization or a charity, then you are likely helping those that are less fortunate than you. If you haven’t found out that helping others will help you more than you give, then you should give it a try. As the Beatles sang:

And in the end
The love you take
Is equal to the love
You make

Here are some ideas of organizations that you should consider joining.

  • charities
  • church / synagogue
  • school groups (booster, PTO, etc.)
  • local political parties
  • local issues group (e.g. “build the stadium”, “save the building”, “revitalize downtown”, etc.)
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Lions, Kiwanis, Shriners, etc.
  • Meetups
  • country club

You need help to be a salesperson. You need friends that can point you to decision makers. You need advice from friends on how to eliminate your competition within your sales opportunities. In short, you can do a lot with the help of your friends. This makes me think of another Beatles song.

I get by with a little help from my friends

Photo by Sahaja Meditation