secret sauce

peanuts-cartoon-about-listening1

An inexperienced salesperson considers listening disassociated with communication. In the true sense, we are all trained to accept the fact that communication is essentially talking. In reality, the opposite is true; some of the best communicators are excellent listeners.

Let’s come to the point here, it’s all about trying to understand the concern of the customer. With that being said, you can assume that this article declares that an excellent salesperson needs to be a great listener on a sales call? No! This is not limited to just one fact or insight. Have we as Sales Managers tried to recollect when was the last time we made a conscious effort to listen?

Have you noticed / come across any of these?

  • Data Dump : Talking too much without a pause
  • Criss Cross : Frequently Interrupting
  • Yes I know : Trying to complete your prospect’s train of thoughts
  • Curve-Ball : Crossed arms, sully look
  • Whatever : Slouched posture, loose eye-contact
  • Multitasking is my middle name : Thus, I lose my train of thought

Did you see that in most of the above situations, the sales-person is too interested to communicate (read : talk) , confident about his product.

In a different world, a person who wants to communicate will actually make a conscious effort to actively understand the conversation’s essence. Do not be thrown back when you hear some of these amazing practices

  • Really? Please go-on : I am genuinely interested to understand
  • That’s interesting : Inviting posture and open hand position
  • I care : Maintaining decent eye contact and a casual but regular smile
  • You’re Most welcome : Focusing on the only task i have
  • I have all the time : Never interrupting, correcting when required

The one thing that I try to do everyday is set aside some time to listen to my calls from the previous day. I find that this helps me immensely to tweak my pitch, get rid of those awkward pauses, correct my tone and manner of speaking, make note of information that I maybe missed out on giving a prospective client etc. If you are an Exotel user, you could try this too. I admit that the first few times you do it, it’s almost embarrassing to listen to yourself. This gives you the best possible opportunity to put yourself in your clients’ shoes and listen to him better. You can even download relevant recordings and share them with your team. Now, you are empowered to implement the power of better listening by implementing corrective measures, sharing best practices and thus, selling more.

If you are just beginning, then all of these might make a lot of sense; but need a lot of discipline. Thus, just like any other skill you master; listening has to worked upon and learned with diligence. With that being said, how will reading this article now make a difference? To address that, here are a few ways you can get started right-away.

  • Free yourself from all pre-conceptions/ pre-dispositions. Do not have an image of the person, or try to judge him.
  • Ask questions, especially in the beginning.
  • Do not jump to a conclusion & rush to speak
  • Verify your understanding with the user by clarifying
  • Try not to finish someone else’s thought, not even in your mind
  • Limit distractions, minimize multi-tasking and be open to listening

Always remember that a mind-set to listen will help. It’s when you know a person and his concern; you will be able to provide a solution, and thus sell. Push yourself as a better, active listener. Practise this behaviour within the team, on call, home and everywhere. To sell is human but for that you need to listen with your eyes and your ears.

This article is cross-posted here.

AUTHOR: arpan
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