Best in Class sales professionals are active listeners. They realize that the less they talk and the more the prospect talks, the more likely they are to build trust and honest communication. They pay close attention to what is being said during a sales call, rather than think of what they will say next. They “reverse” questions back to the prospect, so they can understand the true intent behind the question, possibly hiding underlying discontent or objectives that they need to bring to the surface. Even when they could diagnose a problem in five minutes and explain the features and benefits of their solution to fix that problem, they don’t jump the gun and go into presentation mode.
When people were surveyed why they didn’t buy from a particular sales person, 86% responded, “I felt they didn’t understand me or my business”. The only way to understand is to listen. Poor sales people often zone out during a sales call. They are waiting for their turn to speak. When poor salespeople speak, it usually isn’t particularly relevant to the prospect’s comments because they weren’t listening in the first place. This throws away a golden opportunity to get to the heart of the problem with the prospect. Buyers generally tell us what the problem is and how they would like it solved, if we take the time to listen. Top sales professionals know that their commission check is based on the information they get, not the information they give.
Be an active listener. Take stock of what your prospect is saying. Relay it back to them in your own words. This will ensure that you accurately understood what was said and shows the prospect that you are paying attention. The greatest compliment any person can give another person is their full attention, building a bond of mutual understanding and trust.
- Karen James