Identifying The Individual To Calibrate The Conversation

Lucid Leadership by Rowan B. Colver

Sales conversations can easily go wrong. When we’re in the flow during a conversation, our autopilot takes care of most things. This means we say routine things, we stand or sit in a routine way, and our inner dimensions manifest in subtle ways. The unconscious mind can produce any number of directions and it’s our conscious mind that makes a quick decision about what to say. In autopilot we don’t really consider our words, we just say what comes into our head. In an ideal world, this is great and provided our anxieties and prejudices are not dominant then we will be able to flow in any conversation situation. We all carry baggage and this is often the reason our sales conversations go wrong. We either present as preoccupied and stressed or blank and robotic, shrouding our human side. Both of these scenarios lead to customers making conclusions that work against us.

By learning how to mirror people and pace with them on their level and at their speed, we can make sure we fit in the groove that they feel comfortable in. Remember, it’s our job to do this and hospitality is the beginning of all good relationships. This is a friendly and formal scenario, best behaviour is necessary at all times. Your reputation is defined by how people interact with you and what you provide. But how do we know what to say, how to say it, and when? If someone is going to buy from us then they have to like us a lot. Any slight reason to dislike us will give their sense of prudence a decent excuse to save their money for another time.

Our social skills need to be internalised. By behaving as if we are reading from a textbook we give the impression that we are fake. We know that we’re doing our best to be genuine but in their eyes, our best isn’t good enough. This means we have to practice. Some of us have to practice a lot. If you’re thinking you are great at conversations then you are especially in need of training. You have been given a pencil but you have to sharpen it. The rest of us have to earn our pencils with hard work and then sharpen them after.

People are not all the same. It can be easy to assume that a person thinks and feels like we do, especially if we seem so certain. The thing is that we base our tastes and our word choices on unique factors based on our own personality. The human brain is incredibly complex and no two are alike. We are born with a unique blueprint and if that’s not enough, our individual life journeys help our brains grow and learn in a physical way. The brain and its structure is a great metaphor for the mind and the individual sections can be likened to various aspects of our personality. These build connections to one another based on real-time input from the world at large. The combinations are practically infinite. We need to observe and listen in order to understand how to best choose our words, our tone, and our speed of sale. If we get any of these wrong we can lose our hard-earned rapport.

Before we can make judgements about how to move forward we need to be able to identify a person’s normal. Once we can meet a person at their level on their own mental ground we are much more likely to be able to establish a conversation. As we gauge a person during a conversation we have to look for changes in their body language. There are many myths that pretend to tell you that people make gestures to mean exact things. This line of best fit operad is not beneficial for one to one personal interactions. We need to base everything they do based on what they normally do. Some of us are naturally closed off, some of us touch our face all the time, some of us shuffle our feet and look at the floor. Some of us seem extremely warm and open but are actually guarding our real feelings. We need to look for groups of behaviour changes that all insinuate one larger theme. If you’re on social media then this can be achieved by looking at the language used, speed of responses, if they show their approval with likes, etc.

It’s imperative to not assume. If in doubt, ask. We can sometimes think we’re so clever that we can read another person on every page. Often we’ve seen a glimpse of a chapter heading or the outline of a cliffhanger but there’s no way we’ve read the book. It’s not on the shelf to read. We have to always be prepared to ask questions that validate or invalidate the direction we want to go. By learning more about the person we can begin to fine-tune our choice of words and selling points so that what we offer truly appeals to the individual.

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Rowan Blair Colver

Rowan Blair Colver

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Music writer and humanities educator from Sheffield in England. Democracy of philosophy, comments are welcome. ko-fi.com/rowanblaircolver