Information has become increasingly accessible due to the internet and has impacted the relationship between salespeople and prospects. Through quick searches and online browsing, prospects can gather as much information about a product or service as a salesperson has. Because of this social trend, it has become increasingly difficult for salespeople to demonstrate their expertise, which impacts their credibility and trustworthiness.
Selling is one of the most advanced forms of communication. It requires the utilization of all of our senses. Although you may feel that the greatest barriers to your selling performance is attributed to circumstantial events, such as not having the right product or lacking certain presentation tools or skills, it may actually have to do with how well you listen.
Active listening is a skill especially important in the sales world. Often times, the prospect is ignored or talked over because the focus is on the making the sale and not on the person purchasing. Through this communication technique, you will be able to increase the understanding and rapport between you, the salesperson, and the listener, the prospect. You can assure the prospect that you are paying attention and that you are truly interested in helping them solve their problem.
Without this skill, ineffective listening can damage your relationship and trust with your clients. Poor listening can result in a number of lost selling opportunities through mistakes and misunderstandings. Active listening is a powerful skill that can improve mutual understanding and respect for one another. With active listening, you can better streamline your processes and further reduce the number of non productive activities you perform fixing mistakes.
Uses for Active Listening
A few ways you can utilize your active listening skills:
• Addressing resistance in the beginning of a sales call
• Identifying compelling reasons for change
• Recapping an exploratory call
• Addressing objections
• Closing business
4 Step Process
There are four simple steps to get started on developing your active listening skills.
1. Truly listen to the prospect. Focus on what the client is saying instead of being concerned with closing a sale. Silence is your best friend when speaking to your client. Conscious pause will make the person feel heard and comfortable enough to talk more. Your pause demonstrates that you have a sincere interest in what they are saying and will create a space that will motivate your client to share additional information.
2. Feedback the content and emotions expressed by the prospect. This involves listening for information. When you listen for information, you are looking under the words to explore the implied meaning behind them. This prevents you from wrongly prejudging or misinterpreting the message that the client is communicating to you.
3. Confirm you heard the prospect correctly. Clarify what the client has said during the conversation. Rephrase their comments or questions in your own words in order to ensure that you not only heard but understood them.
4. Ask a relevant follow up question. By doing so, you are further clarifying your understanding of their situation and will not only improve your rapport with the client, but will help you tailor your solution to best fit your prospects problems.