I was told a long time ago we were given two ears and one mouth for a simple reason….speak less and listen more! Listening is one of the most basic skills needed to be a great sales executive (and that is many times overlooked). It is this skill that allows sales executives to truly understand a clients pains, visions, goals and barriers. It is this skill that also allows a sales executive to connect with their client and understand their dynamics and truly create a solution to their pain or a path to reach their goals.
Below are some basics to being a good listener:
- Probe, don’t interrogate
- Don’t jump to conclusions
- Lead, don’t solution
- Interpret internally and wait patiently for a window to reiterate what was heard and ask for confirmation
- Focus on what and how is being said relative to context and tone
- Never interrupt
- Pay attention not just to the words, but to body language
- Listen for what is NOT said
- Turn your phone off and remove distractions
While this may seem very basic, that is because it is. But too many times in client meetings, I see sales people cut customers off before they are done sharing their vision or business issues. Too many times sales people are not focusing on what their client is explaining, instead they are already “solutioning” or “sizing” their recommendations.
Try it yourself in your next meeting. If you find yourself ready to interrupt your client or make a recommendation, ask if they are finished first or count how often you find yourself ready to cut in. It might surprise you how differently the meeting goes with a patient listener.
For some great sales training books, check out: