Corinne Zudonyi Headshot

A good or bad salesperson can make or break your business, and strong communication skills are invaluable. Take this story as an example: A few years ago, my husband wanted a new truck. He was sold on a specific model before we even left the house, but I still needed some convincing.  

Within minutes of arriving at the dealership, a salesperson was on the spot and ready to help answer any questions we had, at least that's what I thought. I asked a question, he answered it to my husband. I asked another question, he turned to my husband and responded. This went on for about 15 minutes before I stopped and told him my husband didn't need information about the truck — I was the one who had questions and required convincing.  

Nothing changed, so we left and bought that truck at another dealership. We shared our experience with friends and family and discovered that lackluster sales strategies were common practice at this dealership. Now, even years later, people I talk to still refuse to patronize that establishment.  

Strong communication skills among salespeople will improve client relationships and increase effectiveness, especially during these turbulent times of product shortages and price increases. To make sure your sales team is sending the right message on behalf of your company, it's important to focus on a few key communication skills.    

First, pay attention and practice active listening. Everyone is busy and it's easy for the mind to wander. But as hard as it is, salespeople must dedicate 100 percent of their attention to the client on that call, so they can collect every detail and provide better customer service in the end.   

Watch for non-verbal communication both in clients and any message you send. Think eye contact, crossed arms, smiles, slouching, etc. We can say a lot without ever opening our mouths.  

Honesty is a communication must. Salespeople should be encouraged to own their expertise in certain subject matter, but also admit when they don't know an answer. Asking questions and showing interest will likely salvage deals versus making false assumptions.  

Finally, be persistent, but don't be a pest. Walking that fine line is crucial in sales. If a personal visit doesn't get you in the door, try calling. After leaving voicemails, try email or a handwritten letter. A different approach might get a client to re-engage.