"Communication is a skill that you can learn. It's like riding a bicycle or typing. If you're willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life." -Brian Tracy
Okay, so we've learned that you need to earn the right to ask high impact questions and that adding in some humor is a good way to advance the process and gain credibility. Now for some basic communication 101.
Paraphrasing in sales is when you "repackage" a statement that your prospect has made. You do this verbally. Here is an example:
Prospect: We are down about 12% year to date in the southeastern US market. This means we are likely not going to be able to open our new southeast facility until fourth quarter 2016.
Salesperson: Okay, so what you are saying is that you would like to be able to open up your new southeast facility sooner, but because of sluggish sales in that region, you will have to wait until late 2016.
-You've just done two things: 1. You let the prospect know that you are listening. 2. You established a pain point.
Prosepct: Yes, unfortunately, that's where we find ourselves.
Salesman: What seems to be causing the lack of sales in the Southeast?
Prospect: We haven't been able to effectively market our products in this area. We have distribution, we have the product just no demand.
Salesman: Okay, well it sounds like much of the work is done. You've established a world class product, you have an efficient way to bring it to market but you are in need of some specific geographically based advertising campaigns. Would you like me to put together a comprehensive marketing plan aimed specifically at how my company can help grow your sales in the Southeast?
By paraphrasing you get a chance to reframe the statement, to dress it up and make it sound even more profound than it originally was.
If someone tells you "We run on such tight margins, and our sales are down, I don't think we can afford your product."
You can reply with, "okay, so what you're saying is that cost is an important factor here, I can respect that. That said, I have consulted with your peers in this industry and what they've found is that the cost of inaction is far greater than the investment to move forward."
Your paraphrase in the above example is, "cost is an important factor." -You let them know that you heard them and then you go on to alleviate their fears by leveraging their peer set.
Paraphrasing lets them know you heard and it allows you to reframe the statement in a way that is beneficial to your cause. Politicians are NOTORIOUS for doing this. Bill Clinton, arguably the best communicator of the modern political era, is the best paraphraser I've ever seen. Watch him in interviews or in conversation, he has a way to repackage a question or comment in a way that suits the narrative he is trying to get across. I remember him saying that he "never answers the question he was asked but rather the question he wished he'd been asked." -That's a politician for you.
You can use paraphrasing in your daily life, with your friends and family and they'll be amazed at what a good listener you've become. You can use it to push your own agenda.
Date: I like music and going out and dancing
You: I think it's great that the arts are important to you, dancing and music are such wonderful pursuits.
You've listened, you've repackaged what your date said and you complimented their choice of pursuits. You can do this all day long. If you're good at it, it's effective. If you're bad at it it sounds contrived and cheesy.
Work at it. I promise, you'll not be disappointed.
And now, one of the best speeches by the best salesman of all time. Notice how good he is at packaging a statement that makes you feel like you are smart because you "get it" like he does. He uses statements like "there's something I've noticed, you have probably noticed it too." -He's a master at being "once of us." -It's like watching Michael Jordan play basketball or Baryshnikov dance: