Appreciating the Art of Communication Can Produce More Successful Print Sales

By Matthew Parker

Everyone is a little bit different.

Some people are tall, some people are short. Some people dress smartly, some are scruffy. Some people are very formal, others are more relaxed.

People also have different learning styles. Salespeople who take these distinctions into account will create more successful relationships. They will not put prospects off by communicating in a way that the prospect is not comfortable with and they will have a better chance of controlling a meeting or conversation, and of achieving their sales goals.

Salespeople who stick to their own preferred method of communication risk alienating some prospects and may struggle to achieve the maximum number of worthwhile relationships. They will find their sales targets harder to achieve.

One useful model for understanding different learning styles is called “VAK,” which was created by Neil Fleming and is based on neuro-linguistic learning styles.

The model outlines three key ways that people take on information. I have outlined them below, along with some information on how you might apply these in a print sales meeting.

Visual: Seeing

Some people prefer to picture things and respond best if they see pictures or a diagram. A good salesperson will come armed with a few slides and will be prepared to draw diagrams of processes and structures. He may also be able to represent figures through charts.

Auditory: Hearing

Many people like to listen to what is being said. If you talk to an “auditory” prospect, your message will get through. This is the way most salespeople are comfortable communicating. Many auditory people will learn best through a good story.

Kinesthetic: Touching

A number of prospects will take in information through touch. They will gain more through being able to examine samples and will react favorably to marketing giveaways such as branded pencils or stress balls. It is a good idea to be able to give them a brochure or a set of notes after a meeting.

These are the three key senses through which people take in information. Knowing about these raises an important question: How do you know which learning style someone prefers? Most people take in information in all three ways. However, they also generally have a preferred learning style. Until you know someone well, you won't know which style they prefer. If you are meeting a prospect for the first time, you'd better be prepared for anything!

I recommend having something to support all three learning styles at any given meeting so that you are prepared for anything that might happen.  This will also give you the best chance to connect with everyone if you are meeting with a group.

I would also advise you to bring along something nice to eat. A few people are gustatory and they like to take in information through taste. They are more likely to pay attention if they have something good to eat. In any case you will normally elicit a big smile from your prospect if you bring something tasty along!

It's time to plan for your next meeting. Make sure you:

• have something interesting for people to listen to,

• are ready to show some pictures of your factory, along with some charts or some graphs,

• have some samples or brochures for prospects to handle, and

• bring along something nice to eat!

If you remember these four strategies, you will be on your way to holding a very successful meeting. You will be able to cater to a variety of learning styles and you will have remembered that everyone is a little bit different.

About the author

Matthew Parker is the Champion of Print at Profitable Print Relationships. He works with printing companies that are frustrated that so many conversations are about price, fed up with a lack of customer loyalty and struggling to stand out from their competitors. As an ex-print buyer, he has received more than 1,400 sales approaches from printing companies, so he is the person to show you what things are like from the buyer’s point of view.

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