According to Mark Jeffries, business influence starts with perceptive communication.
Jeffries, a stockbroker-turned-communication coach, keynoted the recent IHA Chief Housewares Executive SuperSession, where he assigned everyone in the audience the same new titles.
Tell A Story
Title 1: “Head of Sales… For Yourself.” Jeffries stressed prospective customers are constantly sizing up sellers, asking themselves, “Do I buy this person or not?” “We’re all in sales, and the sale never ends,” Jeffries declared.
Title 2: “Director of Translation.” Jeffries warned about the “curse of knowledge,” which often leads sellers to presume that everyone knows what you’re talking about. “Translate as you go,” he said. “You don’t have to dumb it down. If you use an acronym, for example, explain it as you go.” [Jeffries uses his share of acronyms. More on that later.]
Title 3: “Chief Storyteller.” Stories are the lifeblood of sales, according to Jeffries. “People will repeat a story, not a stat,” he said. “A daughter never asks daddy, ‘Show me a pie chart.’ Tell me a story.”
Make A Point
In doing so, Jeffries advised, dwell on what makes you different, something he calls your “red pencil.” “When Apple comes out with a new product, they just tell you what’s new, not what everyone already knows,” Jeffries said. “These are the moments, the tiny differentiators, that make a point at every step of communication.”
Motivate The Customer
Now on to Jeffries’ own acronyms.
He expounds L-W-A-R: translated to Listen-Watch-Anticipate-React. “As humans we constantly do this in the wrong order,” he said. Advising the audience to listen to what’s not being said as much as what is being said, Jeffries explained, “The winner of the communication race is the person who speaks last.”
Jeffries concludes with his “B.R.A.I.N.S. of Influence,” representing types of prospective customers and how to motivate them.
“B” for Bridging: This is for people who need social proof about how others benefit from what you do.
“R” for Rationalizing: The opposite of bridging, this is for people that need data to solve problems.
“A” for Asserting: People will often permit you to be assertive, if they believe it’s in their best interests.
“I” for Inspiring: Some people are more interested in the destination (think outcome) than the journey (think process).
“N” for Negotiating: More about pre-negotiation, strive to delivering value and benefit before its demanded.
“S” for Specializing: People trust a specialist, Jeffries said, urging sellers to consistently and clearly communicate their specialization.
“Constantly think about the other person and how they receive what you’re telling them,” Jeffries concluded. “There are a thousand ways to communicate today, but the same rules apply.”