Lend me your Ears…

The art of listening without speaking, absorbing information and acting on the what is received – simple no?

You would have thought so, however, many sales are lost each day because people do not take the time to listen and absorb what is being communicated to them.

The temptation to wax lyrical about products or services becomes too much and your sales pitch becomes a one way conversation, with yourself !

In any sales process the potential customer should be doing most of the talking- this happens easily when we ask the appropriate questions in order to define customer needs.

'A word in your shell-like?'

It is vital to absorb all the information being given to you so that you can retain it and act on it when it is time to ‘set out your stall’

So a few pointers, which will help you enhance your listening skills:

Give signals that you are listening and that you understand what is being said-going back to Monday’s post on tone and language, it makes the world of difference if you sound interested in what your potential customer has to say.

If there is anything you do not understand, seek clarification. This not only helps you expand the conversation, it also confirms that you are listening to what is being said.

Make notes on important points, these can act as reference points for later in the discussion.

Concentrate and tune into what is being said – whether face-to-face or not each call you make should be treated as a meeting with a potential customer.

Think before you speak, say your bit at the right moment. Don’t interrupt just because you are bursting to dive in, avoid ‘yes but’ and don’t jump to conclusions.

From time to time summarise the customers position to confirm your interpretation and understanding of the information being given. This brings your discussion focus and provides you with an excellent platform to present your business case.

Specifically at the end of the questioning phase ensure that you have a mental or written list of your customers needs/wants – get commitment from the customer that these are the key to securing the business . You can then match the benefits of your product or service and tailor your sales pitch to suit their specific needs.

The simple art of listening will allow you to gain vital information, demonstrate your professionalism and allow you to win more business.

” The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood.The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” – — Ralph Nichols

Written by Anita-Clare Field

About the author

Anita-Clare Field

2 Responses to “Lend me your Ears…”

  • Thanks Andy, excellent and valid points as ever. It’s the most common mistake sales people make-talking their way out of a sale by not listening!

  • Some great ideas to help us hone our listening skills. Sometimes the (mainly) extroverted behaviour preference of sales people mean that listening is not their strong point. What has stuck in my head is the phrase “Listen to understand rather than listen to respond”.

    The other issue is keeping quiet when you have asked for commitment – you can often jump in too soon before the client has had time to process the information and confirm the deal. Which means that you have let them off the hook and may lose the sale!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.