Are You Really Listening?

Been doing some observation work with several b2b sales people and have noticed one thing. Most of the sales people need to ramp up their ability to really listen to their customers.

Again the signs are there for us to learn. Our customers and clients actually want us to listen and comprehend and understand what they want and need. It is our job to deliver these results by listening aggressively.

The truth is most b2b sales people are trained or have behavioral styles which are very adept at presenting and talking. Sometimes they can even ask questions after being trained on the Questioning Model of B2B Selling.

However, the question remains – are they really listening to what is being said by the customer?

Often listening is the one skill sales people take for granted. Their expectations are limited to believing they are naturally good at listening. Therefore, there is very little time and effort applied to learning exactly how to actively listen.

How about some b2b sales tips regarding the reasons to learn the skill of listening?

Okay, here are four reasons for you to improve your listening skills starting today.

  1. Purposeful Listening
    When working with a customer you want to always remember your primary purpose is to satisfy your customers desire for improvement and change. In other to provide this you need to actively listen to everything the customer says. Your goal is to learn what is actually and realistically going on at the customer’s site so you move forward in your sales process. However, without knowledge and understanding of their situation you are flying blind and will probably revert to traditional selling methods based upon price.
  2. Discipline is Required
    You will need to clear your mind of any assumptions, prejudices or perceived conclusions / solutions. If you have these thoughts in mind, they will have a tendency to filter your listening or worst you will actually ignore facts since they did not agreed with your agenda. It takes discipline to ask great questions and listen to the answers AND then ask more questions for clarity and better understanding. This is the starting point for developing trust in your customer relationship. And don’t believe for a minute your customer can not sense when you are listening to exactly what they are telling you.
  3. Focus coupled with Engagement
    When you use the questioning model of b2b sales, you are engaging the mental side of the customer which can create a direct connection to you. The more focused your questions, the more engaged the customer will become in an effort to explain their position to you. Always remind the equation – Involvement equals commitment. Engage your customers with targeted questions and listen intently to their responses. You will learn more than some of the people in the customers company will openly know about their own situation. (This is true and happens quite often to the superstar sales people who ask great questions and actively listen to their customers.)
  4. Allows Your Offering Choice to Win
    By listening to ALL the answers and information provided by your customer, you begin your decision process. The first decision is about whether this account matches your ideal customer profile based upon what you learned. If they don’t, you can choose to move on and get a higher return on your time invested. More importantly, if I assume you have done a great job of qualifying in your targeting process, then the issue is your choices for the right offering to this customer. Do you bundle your offer or break everything out for their review? Do you go high value or low cost provider? These choices can only be accurately made after you have learned more about the customer.

There you have four excellent reasons to use active listening in your b2b sales process. It is the most overlooked and undervalued skill you can possess. Practice your listening skills or find books on listening to learn the skill. The best sales people and leaders are the great listeners.

Become a great listener and watch your results improve significantly.

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Voss Graham

Sr Business Advisor / CEO at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Your Knowledgeable Partner for Business Success and Achievement. Dedicated to helping others get to their next level of success. Award winning business advisor; coach to executives and business owners; Business Growth Strategist; and experienced using assessments for hiring & selection, evaluation of teams and improving communication. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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