The Buyer is linking up with management training experts, Positive Change Partners, to offer companies across the drinks industry and on-trade the chance to bid for a course to help improve your team’s communication skills and take part in The Benevolent’s Online Silent Auction initiative designed to help raise money for those in need in the industry. Barbara Scalera, of Positive Change Partners, explains how effective communication skills can transform a business’ performance.
Good business is as much about listening and understanding your customers’ needs as it is having the right products to sell them. Barbara Scalera of Positive Change Partners looks at how having better communication skills can make a huge difference to your business.
Whether you are a producer trying to take advantage of increased margins by selling in to the overcrowded UK market; a wholesaler needing to justify your increased prices; or a restaurateur selling to a conservative consumer; customer relations and influential communication skills have arguably never been more important to the success of your drinks business.
So how much have you invested in learning how your customers actually make decisions? Are you tailoring your communications to the widely varying personality types of a diverse customer base or organisation?
Do you know why you immediately ‘click’ with certain prospective clients and why dealing with others is a painful experience that you dread?
Imagine what your days would look, feel and sound like if you could ‘click’ with 90% of the people you interact with. How much faster, easier and more profitable would your interactions be? How much new business would you bring in, and how much additional business could you gain from existing clients?
Multiply that over time and investing in how to identify and best communicate with different personality types becomes a no-brainer.
That is why with the support of The Buyer, we are teaming up with The Benevolent’s Thanks For Giving Online Silent Auction to offer your your team, the chance to receive a half day workshop, for up to 20 delegates, on how to improve and discover different ways of communicating with your customers and clients. There will also be an opportunity to bid for a separate training programme run by ourselves and Liberty Wines. (See here and below for more details).
Psychologist Carl Jung first detailed back in the 1920s that we have different preferences in the way that we communicate. Some people, for example, will want the facts delivered to them, short, sharp and direct whilst others will need all the information and then the space to carefully weigh up the options before making a decision.
Modern day neuroscientists concur with Jung’s findings and are repeatedly proving that our conscious mind contributes only about five per cent of our cognitive activity. This means that 95% of our decisions, actions, emotions, and behaviours are determined subconsciously. Thus our purchasing and business decisions are more emotionally driven than we realise. Our conscious mind will rationalise our decisions but it’s the subconscious mind that’s calling the shots and driving our behaviour based on our individual personality profiles.
So how can you use this knowledge in this highly competitive, unstable, uncertain pre-Brexit climate? By seizing the opportunity it presents.
Because if your clients aren’t making their decisions rationally based on logic and reason, then current challenges such as increased prices, increased competition and consolidation, and decreased consumption aren’t necessarily their main influencers – only the rationalisations they are using to justify their emotional decisions.
Now all you have to do is learn how to identify and tailor your communication to their subconscious preferences and you will have vastly increased your ability to positively influence their decision making, regardless of external market factors. Communicating with others at a subconscious, emotional level also enables you to dig deeper and discover the underlying problems that your customers or co-workers are seeking to solve.
How to: Build subconscious rapport
So how do you create that comfortable, familiar feeling that you automatically get when communicating with someone who’s ‘on the same wavelength’ as you? Through building rapport, which creates a feeling of trust between you and whomever you are communicating with. This doesn’t mean pretending to support the same football team.
Indications are that approximately 55% of the meaning of communication is in our non-verbal physiology, and another 38% is in our tonality – a mere 7% is actually in the words we use. So physiology and tonality are crucial to building rapport with whoever we’re communicating with.
Take note the next time you’re on a train, in the pub or anywhere that multiple people are in conversation with one another. What do you notice about those busy in conversation? How are their bodies positioned in relation to one another? How about their gestures, their facial expressions, their breathing rates?
Now pretend to stare at your phone while you do some eavesdropping, but don’t listen to the actual words, listen to the pace of them, the tones of voice, the tempo of their words. What becomes apparent? Reading and utilising the physiology and tonality of whomever we are communicating with is the most powerful way of building natural rapport with them.
Mind your language
Once you’ve adapted your physiology and tonality to whoever you’re communicating with it’s time to concentrate on the words they use. Everyone has what’s called a preferred representational system, which dictates the language that they use – and the language others use that most resonates with them at the deepest level of their subconscious.
For example, approximately 40% of the average population are visual. They think in pictures and in order for you to connect with them at a subconscious level and sell them on your product or service you need to paint a picture for them.
You can spot the visual client through the visual words you see them use such as ‘I see what you’re saying, here’s how I see it, it appears to me, what I want to focus on is, what I envision for the company is…’
They also tend to be fast loud talkers with erect posture. Visual buyers need to see the physical product or the visuals of your service. So if you have a visual wine buyer, for example, the label and bottle design and the look of marketing materials or presentations are going to be particularly important. You sell to them speaking in a higher, louder voice tonality at a quick pace to keep up with the rapidly changing pictures in their heads.
They tend to use tighter movements that you can mirror, and you want to close them using visual language such as ‘Looking at the big picture, from your perspective how does this look in your portfolio?’
Another 40% of the population are kinaesthetic. They’re highly in touch with their emotions and/or sensitive to the way things feel physically. And within this category there is a subset that in most industries are uncommon, but in the drinks industry are prevalent and that’s Gustatory & Olfactory, who are all about taste and smell.
A smaller percentage, about 10% of people, are auditory and you’ll hear them using auditory language such as ‘that really resonates with me, that’s music to my ears.’ And finally we have the 10% who are auditory digital – the people with a voice in their head that never stops talking. These are the seemingly emotionless buyers, the number crunchers, who are all about reason, logic, numbers and process.
Each of these segments of the population tend to have common preferred ways of holding themselves, a speed and manner in which they communicate, specific language that resonates with them, and specific types of information that turn on (or shut down) their emotional triggers to purchase or take action. By learning how to quickly evaluate, ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’ of whomever you are communicating with, you will create a strong subconscious bond and feeling of trust that will enable you to positively influence the outcome of your communication. And in today’s drinks industry where technology has brought product quality onto an even keel, supply outweighs demand, and the businesses that have survived consolidation all offer similar customer support – it’s the strong rapport and relationship you establish that will win you the business over your competitors.