Listening to your clients wants and needs and effectively matching features and benefits of your product/service is a vital part of a successful sales conversation.
The wise man has long ears, big eyes and a short tongue. Russian Proverb
There’s an age old assumption that, if someone is good at talking there’s a good chance he or she will make a great salesperson. That might have been the case way back when business suits came with flared trousers but, in this socially enabled, emotionally intelligent age in which we now live, just talking a lot ain’t gonna cut the mustard.
From my own experience of some 21 years in sales – in the early days I certainly fell into the “good at talking” category. I’m great at building rapport with people, brilliant at breaking the ice by throwing in the odd joke, amazing at making people feel at ease and relaxed in my company but, naturally have never been a good listener.
This could well have been down to nerves initially – after all, if you’re uncertain about your own skills as a salesperson, unsure about the product/service you’re selling and even more unsure about why prospects would part with their cash, you’ll be far more likely to just race through a load of features and benefits and much less likely to be relaxed enough to pin back your ears and regurgitate the prospects emotional outpourings into something approaching a structured sales conversation
For me though, the turning point in my approach to sales came from reading Jeffrey Gitomers “Sales Bible” and, in particular the phrase “people don’t like to be sold but they love to buy”
Suddenly my eyes (and ears) were open – sales was no longer a mysterious dark art, carried out by jedi like sales masters (and mistresses) – it was now a clear process of:
- Ask questions to uncover needs/problems + listen
- Match features/benefits of your offering – ask more questions for clarification + listen
- Summarise, in your own words, what issues the prospect has and how you’ll be able to help resolve them – ask more questions for clarification + listen
- Ask for the business + listen
Yes that’s a huge simplification of the sales process but, taking it at it’s base level, that’s all sales boils down to. However, if you take out the “listen” part, all you’ve got is a one sided conversation, taking place on the wrong side of the table.
Some of the most successful sales meetings and calls I’ve ever had have involved me saying very little indeed – get the prospect talking and not only will they provide you with hugely beneficial insights into what they’re looking for but you can guarantee that if you’re doing all the talking, they won’t actually be paying attention to what you’re saying anyway, unless it relates specifically to a question they want answers to.
Sales today is about solving problems, not tiring your prospects into submission by boring them to death. Listen more, talk less and you’ll significantly improve your chances of sales success.
And if you need help with any aspects of sales and marketing, we’d love to talk (and listen)
Get in touch on 0330 20 50 500 or fill in the contact form on our website and we’ll call you straight back
Inspired Business Development Ltd