My Dad had a wealth of clever expressions. One day, I really must write a book so that all that wit and wisdom doesn’t get lost for all time!
One of my favourites was, “There is a reason that you have two ears but only one mouth”. And it is the root of the best advice ever given to a sales person. The reason? Simple, listening is twice as important as talking. Especially for sale people.
Here is an all too common scenario. You go into a customer with your sales presentation all prepared, and then just spew. A bad thing in just so many ways. As a sales person you want to make your customer feel important and valued. If you do all the talking, you customer will never have the chance to engage and become part of the sales process.
If you don’t let your customer get a word in edgewise, how will you ever know what they need. Remember, the goal of a good professional sales person is not to just sell customers things, but to sell them things that they need, solutions to their problems.
Here is a classic example. I was making buddy calls with a new sales person, and we were selling a software product. We had received some feedback that the product was a bit pricey, and had worked up several responses to the price objection. On this call, we told the customer the price, and he said, “that’s quite reasonable considering how much you get for that price”. Great! But my buddy just rolled on, explaining all the reasons why the product was not too expensive. In the course of his presentation, he offered up an objection that the customer had not thought of, and we never closed the sale.
We all do it. We get wrapped up in conversation, and we start thinking about what we are going to say next, so much so that we don’t listen we to what the other person is saying. The only way to get past it is practice. Think about listening, and listen attentively. Take notes, (in fact I would be tempted to smack a sales person who doesn’t have a notepad an pen at hand on every sales call). Listen with care, and show that you are listening by restating your customers words. Use phrases like, “so if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying…”, or “in other words, you are saying…”
Give it a try, you will be surprised by how much more engaged your customers are with your sales presentation, and by how much you learn.Could your sales people use some coaching in listening skills. We can help with training, or we can ride along on sales calls to offer coaching and feedback. Give us a call for a free needs assessment.