In 2008, we live in a vastly different world in which we feel information-saturated, overburdened, and pressed for time. It is a world in which long dialogue is generally a nuisance and short, to-the-point interchange is embraced. It is a world that values Headline News, USA Today, and Internet blogs more than traditional news shows or in-depth books.

In short, we live in a world in which people want things short, simple, and digestible. That includes decision-makers to whom you are trying to explain the benefits of your services. We all need to learn how to prosper within the confines of the sound bite world in which we operate. To do this well, we all need to “cut to the chase” to get our core message across.
Rule #1: Mince the Written Word
Whether you are writing a proposal, designing promotional material, or simply sending an e-mail, eliminate verbosity to yield big results. This can be accomplished in three simple steps:

  • Review everything you write and eliminate any para- graphs you
  • Then review the remaining text and eliminate any sen- tences you
  • Finally, review your remaining sentences and elimi- nate any words you

The shorter a written document, the more likely a reader will read the remaining words and absorb your central point.
Rule #2: Enhance Your Verbal Communication Style
Cleaning up your written material is comparatively easy provided you take the time because you give yourself a chance to go back and clean things up. Not so with the spoken word; once said, spoken words are forever. Be vigilant about streamlining your verbal communication.
Rule #3: Set the Stage
State your objective(s) up front in clear and concise terms. Begin sales calls, phone calls or meetings with a clear declaration of your objective. Don’t be afraid to define exactly what you are doing (e.g., “My objective is…”). Be honest and keep it brief.
Rule #4: Speak Sparingly, but Carry a Big Stick
When you are engaged in dialogue, it is generally a good practice to limit each comment to two or three sentences. We often value depth of detail ahead of being concise when just the opposite should be true. You want the other person to feel that they are controlling the conversation. The best way to create a perception of buyer-control is to let the buyer do most of the talking. In many respects, you are trying to create the verbal equivalent of the aforementioned written communication dictum: “eliminate paragraphs, then eliminate sentences, then eliminate words.”
Rule #5: “Because”
Tying a reason to everything you say—usually within the same sentence—saves you time. The word because should be used over and over again. Rather than say “We’d like to have you tour our clinic,” say “We’d like to have you tour our clinic because it is the best way for you to understand the quality of our program and compare us to other options.”
Rule #6: Call a Close a Close
Many sales professionals are uncomfortable asking for the business because they fear rejection. Consequently, closing verbiage often becomes hesitant, meandering, or even disingenuous. The best way to ask for the business is to ask for the business as directly as possible.
Rule #7: Learn from Your Written Edits
If you conscientiously edit your written correspondence (rule #1) you will begin to see patterns such as over-used words or irrelevant tangents. These tendencies tend to crop up in my verbal communiqués. For example, my first drafts tend to be over-populated by dramatic adjectives (“very,” “extremely,” “extraordinary”) that—no surprise—find their way into my verbal expressions. It is instructive to note any “excess written verbiage” tendencies and strive to minimize these tendencies in conversation.
Rule #8: Silence is Golden
Given most conversations, you would never know it. Many sales professionals consider even a few seconds of silence an unacceptable void that must be filled with a stream-of- consciousness discourse. To the contrary, one should sit still or steer things back to the prospect with such open-ended queries as “Anything else?” and “Your thoughts?”
Rule #9: Tighten Your Response to Questions
People tend to ramble on when answering questions. Strive to respond to questions with no more than a succinct sen- tence or two. Here are some hints:

Repeat the question. This gives you time to organize your response and ensure that you understand the question.
Pause between sentences. Give the other party a chance to clarify or accept your answer as sufficient.
Always conclude, “Does this adequately answer your question?”
Rule #10: Straight Talk—Above All
The best rule of all is to look someone in the eye and say exactly what you are thinking. Selling your clinic’s occupational medicine services is about creating “win-win” situations in which your clinic’s capabilities address the prospect’s needs. No hocus pocuslearn a prospect’s needs, describe your solution, define and quantify the win-win, and begin service.

The more quickly and precisely you get from point A to Point D, the better off you will be.

Learning to be Direct in Sales Negotiations