The stereotypical salesperson is a slick talker, someone who was gifted with a silver tongue.
While that’s not a realistic persona, it IS true that many salespeople focus their thought and energy on the talking aspect of sales.
And sure… talking is important. Your script, your delivery, your close, they’re all vital to sales success.
But without great listening skills, they’ll get you nowhere. Listening is how you understand your customer, and how you can sell them a solution that’s meaningful and valuable to them.
So today, let’s focus on that. Here are some quick tips for becoming a better listener on every sales call.
1. Avoid Distractions
The world is full of potential distractions. Incoming messages on your phone and computer, people and sounds in your environment, even the thoughts in your head.
In person, it’s easier to avoid distractions because there’s a simple way to stay in the conversation – make and maintain eye contact. On the phone, you need to fully commit yourself to the conversation.
That means keeping your workspace free of anything that could catch your attention. Investing in a quality headset to avoid distractions in the environment around you. And keeping your mind free and focused on the present moment.
2. Take It Slow
It’s tempting to speak quickly and interrupt when you have ready response, or when you feel like you already know the answer to the customer’s problems. This can be hard to follow for the customer, and in some cases, it’s inconsiderate.
It also might cause you to speak over them when they’re about to hand you a vital piece of information.
Remind yourself to slow conversations down a notch. Wait a moment after the customer finishes speaking to gather your thoughts, and to give them a chance to continue if they have something valuable to say.
3. Reiterate their Statements
When you speak, start by paraphrasing what the customer just told you. This accomplishes three things. It ensures that you use active listening, because you need to do so to know the customer’s main point. It shows the customer that you were listening. And if you’re understanding anything incorrectly, the customer can correct you right away.
4. Ask Clarifying Questions
It’s best to avoid making any assumptions during the sales process. Instead, ask open-ended clarifying questions to get the customer to reveal more information.
When you ask questions like these, it gets the customer talking, which will encourage them to continue opening up. It demonstrates that you want to learn more, and it helps you better pinpoint the customer’s needs.
5. Focus on More than Just the Words
What people say is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to communication. You may not be able to see the customer’s body language on a sales call, but you can listen to their tone of voice. This helps you better understand their emotions and how they really feel.
For example, a customer might say that they’re satisfied with a service provider they have, but you may notice hesitation in their voice when they tell you this.
Your script might tell you to reply one way, based on their satisfaction. But by listening to and understanding vocal cues, might encourage you to probe a bit deeper creating an opportunity that may have passed you by.
Wrapping Up 5 Quick Tips to Become a Better Listener…
Improving your listening skills will improve your sales skills. Conversations between you and your customers will feel more natural, more cooperative, and more solutions focused. And you’ll convert more leads as a result.
To recap, here are simple ways to listen more effectively:
- Get rid of potential distractions when you’re talking to customers.
- Slow down your conversations and don’t be afraid of the occasional pause.
- Reiterate what your prospect says to stay focused, and to clarify.
- Use questions to gather more information.
- Note the emotions behind what the customer says.