Communication skills are essential in sales.  Simply stated, the better one is at communicating, the more successful they will be in sales.

I know I just stated the obvious, yet you’d be surprised at how many salespeople don’t have good communication skills, or don’t know what that term means (yet they think they do!).

First of all, communication isn’t just talking.  Communication is much more non-verbal than it is verbal.  It’s your body language and your facial expressions.  Communication is listening (remember the old adage, God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason).  It’s your tone when speaking.  And, communication is what prevailing thoughts you have when you deliver a verbal/non-verbal message.  In other words, if you think the person you’re communicating with is a moron, then that will actually be transmitted in your communication to that person.  They’ll be able to feel your contempt.

Communication is everything that goes back and forth between two or more parties, whether it’s an email, face to face or phone conversation, presentation, or whatever.

If you see someone walking towards you on the sidewalk, there is communication going on.  Perhaps you two meet eyes.  Or, one, or both, of you purposely avoids eye contact.  Maybe one, or both, of you smiles.  Or, likely, you both look down and to the right or left.  Either of you might instinctively pull your coat over the front of your body, or bend your head downward.  Whatever you do, there is communication going on between the two of you, even if neither one of you says a word.

And, people are constantly judging and assessing your verbal and non-verbal signals, your communication style.  Instinctively you know this is true, because that’s exactly what you do with everyone else.  Now, I’m not looking to start a debate in your mind about whether or not you are judging people.  I know people don’t want to be known for that, however we all do it.  It’s a survival skill hardwired in our minds to let us know if we’re in danger, but that’s another article all together.  For now, just know that you unconsciously have reactions to the verbal and non-verbal cues that people give off.

That’s what’s tricky; the judging and assessing is subconcious.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are people you just don’t get, like, or feel right about…yet maybe you can’t put your finger on exactly why.  Many times those people won’t have actually said or done anything offensive, yet it could be the way they said something that caused your feelings.  That’s subconcious.

So, to be an effective communicator, you need to be aware of yourself and others.  You need to pay attention to how others walk and talk.  By walk, I mean how they carry themselves; their body language and facial expressions.  And you need to pay attention to yourself as well.

For example, it has been proven that gestures with one’s hands that go above the neck, more than a foot wider than either side of the body, or a foot out in front of the body are subconsciously threatening to other party.  So, if you want to shake a client’s hand, you need to either wait for them to offer their hand first, or keep your elbow closer to your hip when offering your hand.  Likewise, refrain from the high-five, unless the client puts their up hand first (I don’t know many agents in the habit of high-fiving your clients, but you get the point).

While I’m on the subject of using your hands, unsolicited touching is generally a no-no.  That includes pats on the shoulder, unsolicited hugs, touching of the arms or legs, etc.  Women can generally get away with touching more so than men.  However, if a women touches a husband while the wife is there, the husband might be okay with it, but the wife might not like it at all.  So, in general, you should probably refrain from the “it’ll all be okay, just sign the contract” reassuring forearm caress.

When dealing with verbal communication, the best thing you can do is be a good listener.  Which also means you need to ask good questions to illicit answers, so you have something to listen to.  Forget about getting all of your important information in one paragraph.  Don’t have your response on the tip of your tongue ready to blurt out as soon as you hear a pause in the other person’s speaking.  Don’t listen to the little voice inside your head that judges them or their answers, asks questions about if they like you, if they think you’re smart, etc.

Simply listen.  Listen, and really understand what they’re saying, and how from their point of view that’s the right thing for them to say at the time.  And when you respond, be sure to approve and/or repeat what they said, so they know they’ve been heard.

If you practice noticing and being aware of your and other people’s verbal and non-verbal cues and body language, as well as really listening to what people are saying, you will soon be known as a great communicator.  Your clients (and friends and family, by the way) will all appreciate how you’re so easy to talk to, and how you seem to “get” them.

If you want to study communication skills in relation to selling more homes, check out our website products page at to see our upcoming telecourses.  Also, You’re The Difference co-founder Christy Crouch and I have a couple of rare open spots for one on one coaching.  And we’re offering an economy busting price.  We usually charge $799 a month for four 30-minute calls a month.  However, we’re only going to charge the next couple of clients $499.  If you really want to take your business to the next level, learn and improve your skills, and be accountable to your success, give us a call to schedule your free, no-obligation 30-minute interview to see if you’re right for coaching.  Call 609-601-1296.