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Test Your Knowledge
Describe the difference between soft skills and hard skills.
Discuss two ways to demonstrate active listening.
Name the three types of communication. Identify at least one pro and one con for each one.
Which type and method of communication would you use to tell your boss that your car broke down and you can’t make it to the customer presentation?
If you invite a customer to lunch, who should pay? If your customer invites you to lunch, who should pay?
When is it appropriate to write a thank-you note in sales?
Soft skills include communication, relationship building, emotional intelligence, and the ability to interact with people. Hard skills are the technical skills required to perform your job, such as analytical skills in the finance area.
Repeat the information that you heard by saying, “Let me be sure I understand what you’re saying…,”nodding your head, and taking notes.
Verbal communication is best for communicating emotions because you can use or hear intonation. It is also natural and fast and provides instant feedback. However, verbal communication is gone in an instant (unless it’s recorded), and people remember what was said differently. Also, we speak at about 125 words per minute, but listen at about 400 to 500 words per minute, so people’s minds wander during a good amount of verbal communication.
Nonverbal communication includes body language and any other type of communication that can be observed. Nonverbal communication can underscore a message, such as hand gestures, or can send a different signal than the spoken words, such as crossed arms or physical proximity. But sometimes people don’t realize the messages they are sending when they use nonverbal communication because it can be more difficult to interpret.
Written communication is the most permanent of all communication types. It is usually considered and is used for formal business communication such as policies, pricing, and other information. Written communication lacks intonation.
It would be best to call them to let them know. This would allow you the opportunity to demonstrate a high sense of urgency, explain the situation, and discuss possible options. It is always best to communicate bad news (especially to your boss) verbally, whether in person or by phone.
You should pay when you invite. Although it is appropriate to let your customer pay for a meal once in a while, it’s usually expected that the salesperson’s company will pick up the tab.
Whenever someone does something that is worth noting—referring you to a new prospect, hosting a productive meeting, being a great business partner, providing some information that was difficult to get, or any other situation that is worth a thank you—then note it. People rarely send thank-you notes, so it’s an excellent way to set yourself apart. A thank-you e-mail is always appropriate, but a handwritten thank-you note is more personal.