This may surprise many of you that are new to sales and may even surprise some of you that have worked in sales for a long while but, contrary to popular belief, sales isn’t just about talking, it’s about listening. Yes you do need to be able to effectively communicate your proposition but without effective listening skills you might as well be talking to yourself.
The talking part of the process should be focused on effective questions, questions that uncover needs, identify problems and help you to match your solution to those needs/problems but, without effective listening skills you won’t be able to effectively match those solutions, let alone close the sale.
This is particularly relevant when selling over the phone as you won’t have the numerous visual signals that you might be able to utilise in a face to face meeting and this is where the concept of “active listening” comes in. If you’ve done the necessary preparation, you’ll already have a list of questions to ask the prospect and will have matched a number of solutions to the most common problems that are likely to be experienced by prospects. Active listening is merely the process of summarising their reply and the solution and repeating to the prospect.
We’re all guilty, in both personal and work based conversations of cherry picking what the other person says and immediately rehearsing a reply in our minds, often missing out the most important parts of their reply whilst wading in with our opinion or an instance of where something similar has happened to us. By summarising and repeating their reply you not only show that you’ve correctly understood but also give them the opportunity to correct any misunderstandings and help put you back on the right path.
Active listening is a skill that can be developed but in the first instance, be aware of what’s going on inside your head when you’re having a sales conversation – are you simply rattling off a list of features and benefits when you should be really listening – not just hearing – what the prospect is saying?
However, if the idea of making effective sales and marketing calls terrifies you, we offer a range of tailored cold calling training courses or, if that doesn’t appeal, can make the calls for you. Give me a call on 01384 566 078 and I’ll be more than happy to help!
Inspired Business Development
Unit K9 Cradley Enterprise Centre
T:01384 566 078