As professional salespeople, it’s naturally tempting to dominate the conversation and talk all about our newspaper product features, desirable audience, and unparalleled reach and penetration. But, if you don’t listen as much as you speak, you’ll never reach a mutually beneficial solution with your customers. After all, you have an objective and have armed yourself with all the information that you think the customer requires to make a choice. But if you are clueless as to what the customer actually needs because you are too busy talking and not listening to what is being said, you’ll never make the jump from a transactional salesperson to a trusted business advisor.
Listening is an active process, not passive. If you only pretend to listen, or you simply bide your time until you can hit your next talking point, you’ll miss valuable information. Prospects will tell you exactly that they want you to do to win their business – so listen carefully. Take mental notes that you can use to your advantage to formulate thorough follow-up questions or pack away in the back of your mind for future use. The best listeners also take a moment to come up with a response that actually touches on what the customer just said to demonstrate that they are listening – and that they care – and are not just pushing through a rehearsed script.
When you listen to your customer, it increases the likelihood that you’ll be able to reach a mutually beneficial solution. Nothing kills a potential sale like miscommunication and unavoidable mistakes. In fact, in many cases you only get ONE opportunity to impress a customer and demonstrate that you can fulfill their expectations. Lack of listening almost assures that you’ll miss an important nugget of information at some point and likely drive customers away. Just because you think that you know what the customer wants or needs does not make it so. Ask thoughtful questions, listen intently to the answers, and minimize the possibility that valuable details will slip through the cracks.
Note: The Sales Cycle will be on hiatus next week as I’ll be traveling (again), but as always please don’t hesitate to send me an email with any questions, comments or suggestions you may have.
Have a terrific week,
If there are specific topics you’d like to see discussed in a future issue of The Sales Cycle, please contact me at (612) 278-0223 or firstname.lastname@example.org