Psych 101 Training

By Cindy Waxer

How sales people communicate with clients is often more important than what they communicate, according to Dianne Durkin, president of Loyalty Factor, a training and consulting firm that teaches sales professionals how to leverage their communication skills in order to enhance employee, customer and brand loyalty in its Customer Service Training Program.

Less formally known as Psych 101 for CSRs, the program begins by determining participants’ unique communication styles. For example, while some sales reps are curt and to-the-point when dealing with customers, others are far more data-oriented and analytical. Being able to identify your unique communication style can mean the difference between pleasing and infuriating a customer with each word you speak, Durkin says. “Identifying how you communicate can help you flex your style so that you can effectively communicate what your client needs to hear.”

Once a participant’s communication style has been determined, the program’s next step involves teaching techniques for perfecting the volume, pace and pitch of one’s voice. Face-to-face contact with customers narrows the margin for misinterpretation. Telephone and email correspondence, however, leaves room for mixed messages because added emphasis on a particular word or unexpected intonation can unintentionally create confusion.

Durkin warns, “In communication only 7% of what we say is heard through the words; 38% is heard through our voice; 55% comes from physiology. So if you’re on the phone with a client, you’re going to have to compensate for that physiology.”

Through exercises and role-playing participants also learn the importance of explaining information in a way that customers can understand, while making them feel appreciated and important. These days it’s not enough to simply know your products inside and out. Sales reps also must be able to show empathy and a sincere desire to satisfy a customer’s objectives.

Durkin says, “You can get products anywhere. But you want to buy from somebody you trust, that you know is going to be there for you in the long-term, that’s going to care for you and is going to take care of you.”