People primarily process information through sight, sound and touch (feeling). Let’s call these, “channels” and I’ll explain them by using examples. Assume you hear a homeowner or business buyer respond to you in one of these fashions:
“Show me what you are talking about,” depicts the “visual” or sight channel.
“Sounds good from my perspective,” describes the “auditory” or hearing channel.
“That just doesn’t feel right to me,” illustrates the “kinesthetic” or feeling channel.
Not only do your prospects use these channels to communicate, you do as well. As with temperament types, people don’t continuously communicate using only one channel, but they tend to have a dominant one that they use most frequently. It’s important to determine their primary channel, for the same reason you fine tune a car radio station. We all know how irritating it is when radio reception is not clear, and although you can hear sounds you can’t quite make out all the words.
Here are some clues to help you determine which channel you primarily use. Once established, use these same clues to categorize your prospects and buyers.
- Do you like to explain things by drawing pictures? Do you prefer watching someone demonstrate a new function first before trying it yourself? When giving directions do you describe the landmarks that will be seen? If so, you are tuned to the VISUAL (seeing) It helps when you can see the whole picture. You tend to see in pictures, colors, and shapes; and if one is not there, you create a picture of what it would look like. You probably talk fast and often use your hands to help show people what you are talking about.
- Do you process information by hearing details and stats? Are you one who prefers to listen to the steps of a tutorial when trying something new? Maybe you like to listen to and remember details of what has been said? If so, you are more of an AUDITORY (hearing) You like to be able to hear the words, tones and sounds that are spoken to you, so you can get all of the facts and as many details as possible.
- When in a meeting or on a sales call, do you focus more on the feeling behind the words than what is actually said? When confronted with something new do you prefer to just jump in and get started, only asking questions when you get stuck? Are you more likely to get involved in sports or watch TV? If so, you prefer the KINESTHETIC (feeling) You probably appear relaxed and speak slowly with pauses in between your phrases. Most of your decisions are based on gut feelings.
Learning to speak in another person’s language, whether it is visual, auditory or kinesthetic, will get you into rapport quicker and at a deeper level. Both of you benefit because you are communicating in the language in which they prefer to process information. It’s similar to traveling to a foreign country and attempting to speak their language. Even when you butcher it, they typically smile and offer help, resulting in the beginning of a positive relationship.
After determining the language new prospects use, test it and observe the results.
Try saying something like this: “My guess is that you would prefer to get information from me that (pick one) shows you, OR, details information along with specifications in writing, OR, allows you to test drive to get a feeling of how my service/product will provide the results you are looking for. Am I right?”
Based on their answer, you will know if you chose the wrong words and which channel you should use with them. Adjust if needed and begin speaking the language they prefer. It’s like my choosing German for my foreign language in high school; very difficult at first but, with practice it became much easier.
If you liked this article, you’ll love the book CW mentions here. “Doug, your book is a great tool that is helping me with my team in the sales room. It is very practical and easy to read and comprehend.” C.W.-Savannah
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