Effective Listening in Sales
Build relationships and increase sales with Effective Listening
Most people would want to enroll in a speaking course to improve their presentation, public speaking or impromptu speaking skills. But did you know that less than 2% of people actually have a formal education in listening?
Listening is a crucial part of an overall communication process and most specially, in sales communication. And like any other process,we are doing it for an objective. What are some examples of goals of a seller who effectively listens?
· know what the client’s pain points are;
· produce creative ideas and solutions to a problem;
· impart useful information;
· simply share feelings;
· understanding feelings;
Regardless of what your goal is for listening, doing it effectively is the way to ensure you reach that goal.
Effective listening in Sales: why is it important
1. Top salespeople spend most of their time listening rather than positioning their product or servicse. This is in comparison to how much an average sales person spends talking: a staggering
2. Should sales people stop talking too much? YES! 25% less positioning their product/solution is the difference between the top closers and the bottom 20% (out of the 25,000 sales calls studied).65% to 75% , leaving only the remaining 25% to 35% for listening.
3. It is human nature to like being listened to. Thus, listening makes you likable (https://medium.com/@AvenueTalentPartners/why-active-listening-is-the-sales-skill-you-need-to-learn-now-5e97e644c6bd)Professor Robert Cialdini (Godfather of Influence) puts likability or theprinciple of liking as the 5th principle in the science of persuasion. click here to watch video
How do you become a part of the quarter of salespeople who effectively listen and close more sales by influencing your buyer?
The answer: 1) know when you are‘ merely listening’ and stop doing that.
2) Know the factors that make up foran effective listener and start applying that.
§ Hearing is not listening. Yes, the main sensory organ that is being used in listening are the ears. But in effective listening, ears are not the only thing that is useful. Words alone will sometimes not be enough to convey a message or a feeling because only 7% of the meaning of our message comes from the words,55% are from facial expressions and 36% are from the way we are saying it. (https://www.getinfrontcommunications.com/infographic-insights-into-our-communication.php)
So the next time you listen to your customer, don’t focus on the words alone. Keep attention in their eyes, facial expressions, voice tone and body language, too. Effective listening in sales is more about comprehending the message behind the cluster of words and being able to counter with an insightful feedback or reply.
§ Effectively listen to understand and not only to respond. To be able to produce collaborative & creative ideas to solve a customer’s problem, listen to understand their situation and help them identify their pain points in order to come up with the plan to solve them.
§ Effective listening means empathizing. When we want to empathize with a customer, effectively listening is the way to go. Listen to know where they are coming from before formulating or suggesting how you are planning to help them achieve their goal.
§ Effective listening does not mean only taking information from the opposite person. Communication is a two-way traffic. Communication does not stop when the message is received or absorbed. Taking information is only the first part of listening to customers. You want to try to absorb as much information that you can by listening to them before devising a plan to get them to where they want to be. Effective listening amplifies & clarifies the message (https://hbr.org/2016/07/what-great-listeners-actually-do?registration=success)and fuels the communication process by asking questions, clarifying assumptions, and restating to ensure the message is right.
§ Effective listening is being open-minded.We communicate to build, manage and grow relationships. Salespeople who do much of the talking are missing this important point in doing sales which is to build trust and rapport with the customers. To influence a buyer, you should first listen effectively as a sales person. We will encounter people or customers who do not go with the same values and beliefs as ours but that doesn’t mean that we can just ruin a relationship because we’d rather not listen. To listen effectively is to open the mind to differences and deal with it in a diplomatic manner.
Listen effectively more than you talk.
Effective listening means being empathetic, giving acknowledgement, understanding and responding with an open mind. Listening and nodding with encouragement will never go out of style, although effective listening is not only emphasizing ‘physically’ that you understand but also demonstrating it ‘thoughtfully’. It reflects in your reply and approach towards the conversation.
Listening in sales is deemed effective when it actually served its purpose and that is to fuel the sales communication process with essence and achieve the ultimate objective of the conversation, which is to build a relationship and know how to tackle the customer’s challenges.