This could easily be the first lesson in the Sales Getters Sales Training Course. If you aren’t a good listener, you’ll never reach your full potential in sales. There is nothing as self-defeating as not listening to what your prospect is saying to you.
There are several keys to good listening:
- Look the person who is speaking in the eyes. Don’t glare, but consciously make eye contact. This will signal to the other person that you are paying attention; even if you are not.
- While the other person is talking don’t be thinking about what you are going to say next. Not only is this a bad habit, you’ll miss what they are saying.
- Occasionally, repeat back all or part of what they said or asked you. Keep it conversational and don’t be a parrot. If your prospect says, “Louie, I am going to have a tough time getting this past the Operations Committee.” It’s okay to reply with the question; “Max, Operations can be tough. How do others get things through them?” Max then knows you heard him.
- Listen for tone and inflection. It’s true that it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Your prospect may be telling one thing and meaning another. You have to listen carefully to detect this nuance.
After developing good listening skills you can sometimes tell what a person really means. I had prospect tell me, after we had sent a proposal and agreed on the date to review it, that he had not had time to look at it. I could tell from the tone of his voice he had no intention of looking at the proposal yet. When I pressed him with, “Larry, you’re really not interested enough yet to start going through our proposal, are you?” Larry replied, “No.”