Now that you have read this chapter, you should be able to understand how to communicate effectively and with proper etiquette in business.
- You can discuss the communication model and how it works.
- You can compare and contrast the different types of communication: verbal, nonverbal, and written.
- You can recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each type of communication and when each is appropriate to use.
- You can understand the role of listening in effective communication.
- You can recognize the impact of nonverbal communication.
- You can practice how to shake hands properly.
- You can discuss the appropriate etiquette for business situations, including the use of electronic devices.
- You can understand the role that informational interviews may play in your career search.
Test Your Power Knowledge (answers are below)
- Describe the difference between soft skills and hard skills.
- Discuss two ways to demonstrate active listening.
- Name the three types of communication. Identify at least one pro and one con for each one.
- Which type and method of communication would you use to tell your boss that your car broke down and you can’t make it to the customer presentation?
- If you invite a customer to lunch, who should pay? If your customer invites you to lunch, who should pay?
- When is it appropriate to write a thank-you note in sales?
- Identify three situations in which it would be appropriate to have your electronic device such as a cell phone turned on in a meeting.
Power (Role) Play
Now it’s time to put what you’ve learned into practice. The following are two roles that are involved in the same selling situation—one role is the customer, and the other is the salesperson. This will give you the opportunity to think about this selling situation from the point of view of both the customer and the salesperson.
Read each role carefully along with the discussion questions. Then be prepared to play either of the roles in class using the concepts covered in this chapter. You may be asked to discuss the roles and do a role-play in groups or individually.
Safe and Secure
Role: Sales rep for Sun Security Systems for retail stores
You are meeting with a potential customer who is responsible for purchasing security systems for over two hundred retail stores. He is convinced that your company’s security system is the one he wants to use, but he has to convince his boss. The key selling point in his mind, he mentions to you, is the fact that the system carries a money-back guarantee so that if anything happens, the company will be protected. You realize that he has misinterpreted the terms of the guarantee. It is a money-back guarantee only on the security system itself, not for any other loss. It appears that there was some miscommunication between all the meetings and follow-up e-mails.
- How would you tell this customer about the correct terms of the guarantee, even though it might be the sale at risk?
- Since you are meeting in person, what type of follow-up would you consider to ensure that the information is clearly understood? Why?
- What do you think caused this miscommunication?
- Using the communication model, describe what happened with the communication.
Role: Security manager at Argon Retail, Inc.
You have been looking at security systems for several months and reviewing the offering from different suppliers. Sun Security Systems appears to offer the best performance at the best value. The key selling feature is the money-back guarantee. It’s a strong statement about how the company stands behind its products. This kind of low-risk investment is important to you and your company.
- Do you assume that what you heard or saw about the money-back guarantee is true? After all, it’s up to the salesperson to be sure you’re informed, right?
- If you probe the details with the salesperson, what questions will you ask to be sure you understand the terms of the guarantee?
- What type of communication will be best to learn about this information?
Put Your Power to Work: Selling U Activities
- Discuss at least three reasons why informational interviews are good to do.
- Invite someone on your informational interview list to come to class to speak about why he or she gives informational interviews.
- Invite three people on your informational interview list and ask them to participate in a panel discussion in class about how to use informational interviews as an effective career search tool.
Test Your Power Knowledge Answers
- Soft skills include communication, relationship building, emotional intelligence, and the ability to interact with people. Hard skills are the technical skills required to perform your job, such as analytical skills in the finance area.
- The sender is Axe (Clix); Nick Lachey acts as the spokesperson in this commercial. The message is that Clix is such a great scent that it attracts lots of women. The message is encoded in video: a commercial. The receiver is the viewer of the commercial, and the target audience is young men. The decoding occurs when a young man sees that Clix is so good that it can attract more women than Nick Lachey. The sender (Clix) gets feedback in several ways: when people view the video, when people post comments about the video or the product, and when people buy the product.
- Repeat the information that you heard by saying, “Let me be sure I understand what you’re saying…,” nodding your head, and taking notes.
- Verbal communication is best for communicating emotions because you can use or hear intonation. It is also natural and fast and provides instant feedback. However, verbal communication is gone in an instant (unless it’s recorded), and people remember what was said differently. Also, we speak at about 125 words per minute, but listen at about 400 to 500 words per minute, so people’s minds wander during a good amount of verbal communication. Nonverbal communication includes body language and any other type of communication that can be observed. Nonverbal communication can underscore a message, such as hand gestures, or can send a different signal than the spoken words, such as crossed arms or physical proximity. But sometimes people don’t realize the messages they are sending when they use nonverbal communication because it can be more difficult to interpret. Written communication is the most permanent of all communication types. It is usually considered and is used for formal business communication such as policies, pricing, and other information. Written communication lacks intonation and is best used for communicating factual information. Grammar and spelling are critical for written communication to be effective.
- It would be best to call him to let her know. This would allow you the opportunity to demonstrate a high sense of urgency, explain the situation, and discuss possible options. It’s always best to communicate bad news (especially to your boss) verbally, whether in person or by phone.
- You should pay when you invite. Although it is appropriate to let your customer pay for a meal once in a while, it’s usually expected that the salesperson’s company will pick up the tab.
- Whenever someone does something that is worth noting—referring you to a new prospect, hosting a productive meeting, being a great business partner, providing some information that was difficult to get, or any other situation that is worth a thank you—then note it. People rarely send thank-you notes, so it’s an excellent way to set yourself apart. A thank-you e-mail is always appropriate, but a handwritten thank-you note is more personal.
- The only time it is appropriate is if you are waiting for an urgent phone call. If that is the case, you should mention it before the meeting starts, put your cell phone on vibrate, and step out of the meeting to take the call. If you are waiting for a text, only check your device occasionally as to not send the message that the other matter is more important than the meeting you are in.