A lot of salespeople that I meet often tell me that they’re great at listening…
Whilst some of them are, unfortunately, many are not.
Let me share a quick story to highlight just how bad at listening some salespeople can be…
I was recently shopping for some additional insurance, and the local agency I work with here had me talk to their insurance specialist.
For the first 10 minutes of the call, this guy talked without interruption.
He was asking me questions which were great, but then he would answer them himself!
He would take guesses about my situation without actually pausing to let me explain my actual situation to him. (If you don’t let the customer speak, the only option is to guess)
On multiple occasions, I would start to speak, and the sales guy talked right over me, bulldozing his way to steal more airtime.
The only thing that saved this guy from me cutting the call short is that I like the agency and its owners and want to keep my business with them. Had this been a new company I would have walked out and they would have lost a potentially valuable sale.
You cannot be a successful salesperson if you do all of the talking
It’s that simple.
In fact, in a good sales conversation, about 25% of the talking is the right amount for us salespeople.
This means the customer should be allowed to think and speak for three-quarters of the conversation. This is the only way you can learn about the customer’s situation and needs.
Ask a question and wait for the customer to answer it.
Think about this for a minute now…
Think about the last few prospect or customer conversations that you had. How much did they talk and how much did YOU talk?
Could you have let them talk more?
The funny thing is, when salespeople do let their prospects and customers talk more, their prospects and customers often tell them massively valuable information that helps them sell to them.
The moment you stop talking and start listening can become one of the most transformational moments in your sales career.
Ask questions and then let them talk.
– Don’t talk over them
– Don’t guess what they’re going to say
– Don’t answer your own questions for them
It’s important to also realize that even if they’re talking, it doesn’t mean that you’re listening. A lot of salespeople are often planning their next statement instead of actually listening to what the prospect is saying.
You need to be ACTIVELY listening.
Stop your own thinking and just listen to what they’re saying. Show them that you’re actively listening but clarifying what they’ve just said:
Prospect: At the moment we use this company, but we’ve found it to be extremely expensive.
Salesperson: So, you’ve found this company to be expensive, have you looked at other options before today?
Not only are you listening to this vital piece of information about a potential competitor, but you’ve proven to them that you’re listening by clarifying back to them what they told you.
This is why one of the greatest keys to sales success is listening
And it’s impossible to listen if you are the one doing all the talking.
Don’t be like the insurance salesperson I mentioned at the start.
Be more aware of the listening/talking ratio in the sales conversations you have today. Try and tip the scales so that you encourage your prospects and customers to talk more and then make a conscious effort to listen to what they say.
It’s a sure path to growing your sales quickly.
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