Written by Ari Greenbaum, Co-founder of conXpros
- the quality of being clear, in particular
- the quality of being easy to see or hear; sharpness of image or sound
- the quality of coherence and intelligibility
- the quality of being certain or definite
- the quality of transparency or purity
The goal of this article is to help better understand the power of clarity of thought and clarity of speech. Once mastered, there is little to stand in the way of crushing your sales goals and metrics. This trait is not easy to acquire, but we all know that being successful takes hard work and dedication.
I rarely watch the news and pay even less attention to media hype surrounding the issue of the day. However, one can learn a great deal from watching interviews with two different types of people, both fighting for the same cause; the leaders and the followers. When the followers, the ones taking part in the protest, are interviewed by reporters, they often sound foolish. They spit out combinations of disjointed statements, rattling off the rhetoric, and repeating the same thoughtless statements over and over. As a viewer, you are left questioning what the person just said and trying to understand if they themselves understand the issues which they are protesting. In contrast, when one of the organizers or leaders of the movement is interviewed, it is obvious why thousands of people are suddenly filling the streets in protest and taking a public stand for a belief. These leaders are clear in their beliefs, understanding of them, and with precise statements “rally the troops” to follow them. The difference of the two types of people described, the leaders and followers, are incredibly clear. One has thought about their words, chose and delivered them carefully, and as a result eliciting a predetermined response. The followers sound as though no effort has been put into thoughts of what they will say and the potential impacts of their words. One rallies people to fight for a cause. The other makes you question the very cause they are standing behind.
Clarity of thought and clarity of speech are incredibly powerful tools. Once mastered, you can effectively control conversations, responses, and emotions of the people you are speaking with. We have all encountered people who possess this learned skill. Whether it was a teacher, professor, keynote speaker, business, leader, coach, or the like, you were captivated, motivated, and eager for the next word or statement to leave their mouth. Their words came to life for you, painted pictures, and had power. These are some of the many benefits and positive impacts that clarity creates for you. It is impossible to achieve clarity of speech on its own. It is contingent on clarity of thought. Without first thinking clearly, one cannot speak clearly.
Effective sales pros guide their customer down a “paved road” towards a predetermined result. I am not suggesting that the sales process should or needs to be scripted. Rather, just as it is impossible to reach a destination when the destination is unknown, or achieve a goal without first setting a goal, you cannot guide prospect down a paved road without first knowing where it is you will be guiding them to. This skill is difficult to achieve, but unlike consistency where the challenges are due to human nature, with clarity it is due to the process itself. To be successful at guiding anything in life takes great practice and repetition. If you arrived at a museum for a scheduled tour and came to learn that the tour guide has never been to the museum, would you expect to receive a proper education on what you are seeing? Achieving clarity takes work and is an ongoing process of self-awareness &improvement. You must be willing to put the effort in to reap the rewards and benefits.
Clarity allows you to ask questions already knowing the potential answers to those questions prior to asking them. Effective questions have limited possibilities of what can be answered. Whatever the answer is, you will continue to lead them down a path of questions based on each answer, but all predetermined based on your controlling the outcome. You must already know the possible responses to the questions you are asking before asking. The same is true regarding your statements. You must know the emotional and verbal responses that each statement and word will elicit before making the statement. As a sales pro, you must operate in a “been there, done that” mentality.
This ability only comes through practice. If you have ever watched exceptional or professional chess players, you quickly learn that they can anticipate their opponent’s potential moves before they make their own. This is known as strategy to those fortunate enough to play at this level, but just like strategy for anything, it is determined long before ever sitting down and making their initial move. Whether strategizing for military action, business, sports, or anything for that matter, you must first have knowledge and then use that knowledge to examine all possible scenarios. It is from this examination that a predictive strategy is developed and put into action allowing a high level of probability for success. I can continue with the analogies, but I am sure you get the point by now, you must plan for success to achieve success.
The method of gaining clarity of thought and speech is identical to the examples you just learned of. You must play every possibility out for every question you may ask a prospect. You also must explore every possible emotion and response that your statements will elicit from the person you are speaking to. This skill is challenging, but also has the unique; you can practice it any time or place. Therefore, you have the ability to always improve your knowledge and anticipation of reactions and answers whether you are sitting at a table eating a meal, in your vehicle driving from one location to the next, in between meetings or calls, anywhere. You do not need anyone or anything to practice with, just your imagination and determination to be great. You should never stop working on this skill as it is impossible to know every possible response, and can always improve on your understanding of the ones you already know. You should practice until these scenarios become second nature. Similar to how basic footwork becomes second nature to an athlete or dancer. Of course, their feet do not work without thought, but they must put far less energy into those thoughts when it becomes part of their nature, after years of dedicated practice and repetition of these exact same movements. Bottom line; if you have not already thought through the scenario clearly, you cannot expect to speak with clarity. One is completely dependent on the other.
Once these scenarios become natural, you can then direct your energies while engaged in the selling process to other thoughts and actions which will have a benefit to your goal to close the deal. Anyone that travels on the same path with great frequency (daily commute, returning home from familiar departure points, etc) becomes incredibly familiar with every detail of the journey. You start making turns, slow down at stopping points, use caution around curves, and other similar actions without putting much thought into the actions themselves. You are operating more out of the subconscious than the conscience. When you are traveling on the familiar roads en route to the familiar destination, you are more confident with self-imposed or external distractions. For example, you will confidently push buttons to adjust your radio station or volume, air condition settings, check your phone, etc. while you are in motion. You can do these distracting things because you are familiar with your path and are certain that you will not miss the turn or stop sign as a result. I am not advocating these activities, rather pointing out human nature and confidence in familiarity. On the other hand, if you are traveling to an unfamiliar destination, or perhaps needing to use your GPS to arrive, you are far less likely to do any of the distracting things mentioned above, and if you must, it is with great caution. The reason you pay close attention to the road and your surrounding is due to the unfamiliarity and lack of confidence in yourself that you can do this “in your sleep” like you can when on a familiar path. This is the exact same benefit that review and practice of scenarios begin to afford you. This methodology enables you to focus less on the path you are guiding the prospect down due to your familiarity, and more on the delivery of your words, the tone of your voice, the enthusiasm or trust being built through your voice, and the impact of your words through voice inflection. You can also focus on physical things such as the body language you are using, eye contact, position of your legs and arms, etc. You can tune into the messages the prospect is sending through their body language to better determine their readiness to say yes. There are so many benefits when you have taken the time to travel down the paths you are guiding your prospect down BEFORE you take the first step in any direction. Just as it is true in most things in life, you get out what you put in. If you put in little to no effort, you will have little or no reward. When you put in significant and massive action, your results will be significant and massive. Clarity takes time and dedication to reach levels that will help you to dominate, but every effort made to be more familiar and clear on the path you will lead your customers down, will have benefit to both your customer as well as yourself; they will gain from doing business with or purchasing a product that meets their needs and you will gain a customer. A true win-win scenario.