Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Thought for the Day - The Link Between Effective Communication, Good Sales and User Focus

The company where I spend many Tuesday afternoons, Gap Miners Pvt Ltd, has several young and enthusiastic sales personnel. We discuss many issues including effective communication, good sales and user focus. Though these topics are all dealt as separate topics, they pretty much need the same thing.

Empathy. Genuine empathy.
Best described by someone as - your pain in my heart

(You can add human relationships to the list.)

Empathy and good communication
To communicate effectively one must understand what the other person is like, the state of mind he is in, the language he understands, when is he most receptive, what puts him in a good mood to listen etc. If we look at normal communication, we normally speak from our point of view, and do not necessarily care if the other person is listening or not. We go on and on about our products, our problems and how he must solve it for us. Not many people are interested in listening about you - so it might help to communicate to him about things he likes to hear about. Now this would need some research - a businessman may be interested in listening to how you can solve a pain point, or even an outright attempt at flattery like how you find his business interesting and good and stuff like that. By shifting the perspective a bit, we have the person hooked into the conversation and then its a matter of how deeply you can connect with him.

The key here is not how good your product is - its about how much empathy you have for your customer and how much you really want to help (or at least make an attempt to help). This requires not merely good product knowledge etc but more importantly it needs a thorough understanding of the customer. It needs empathy.

It certainly needs you to put your ego aside and think from the other person's point of view. Ego and empathy cannot exist together so you have to decide now. Ego? Empathy?

Empathy, communication and good sales
Good sales are a result of the same. An understanding of the customer's need - which requires some amount of research, some amount of putting yourself in his shoes. Most times we have people making products but never using them as a user. The moment you use your product as a user, in your customer's shoes, you find the many ways in which you can see how it fulfils (or not) their need. Then you can speak in a language they understand. That connects, and a sale is made.

Again its not about how good your product is - its about how you connected and communicated with your customer.

Empathy and user focus
This is what user focus is about. How much ever everyone talks about customer orientation and user focus, they remain mere words unless you really get out and put yourself in their shoes. I find very few companies have the patience or the empathy to do this. The ones that do it clearly fill a need and typically do well. The ones that do not, wonder why such a good product as theirs is not selling. Its not selling because you are not able to connect to your customer and tell him how you can help him. (In most cases we are telling him our problem and asking him to solve it for us by buying the product!)

Do it. Use your products as a customer does. Think of ways to make the experience better. You cannot go wrong.

Empathy and human relationships
And I add human relationship to that list. And pretty much any job that needs to be done well. The moment people come into the equation, your first thought needs to be - what will get this person interested and involved in what I am saying. Whether its a speech, a book, a movie, a product, a service - thats the key. Once you get a fix on that, you can get a foothold and then slowly but surely the door opens. To good communication. To  good sales. To users. To hearts. Once you get to the heart its very easy to get to the pockets.


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