Few skills are as important to successful selling as effective communication. The challenge is that everyone is competing for a share of your customer’s attention. According to research, the average human is exposed to 105,000 words per day. That’s 34 gigabytes of information!

It has been estimated that a person who lived during Lincoln’s presidency (ending in 1865) would have been exposed to roughly the same amount of data in their lifetime as today’s edition of The New York Times contains. Wow.

To cut through the clutter, your communication with customers must be compelling. That’s the bad news.

Here’s the good news: With even basic communication skills, you can stand out like a shining star.

Tips to improve your customer response rates

1. Understand idiosyncratic communication.
Everyone has a communication method preference (and it’s often generational). Some prefer text. Others prefer to talk on a cellphone. Still others prefer email. The problem for far too many of us is that we communicate based on our preferences and not the prospect’s preferences. Ask your customers how they would most comfortably like to communicate, note it in your CRM and then use it. Yes, even if they prefer to use social media DMs!

2. Click to call.
If you’re expecting me to call you back, it’s got to be easy. I need your contact information on my phone — see my post about virtual business cards — or you need to have a “click to call” link in your email message to me. Whenever I get a professional email without contact information, I know I’m dealing with an amateur.

3. Permission Questions.
I like salespeople who are assertive, but not aggressive. And so do your customers. If you say to the customer, “If I find something interesting, may I contact you?” he or she invariably will reply with an enthusiastic “Sure.” That person has now given you permission to contact them and are more inclined to engage in a conversation. Next, ask this: “Would you prefer I call, text or hit you up on Facebook?”

Next time, I’ll provide more ways to help ensure your communication strategies get through.

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash