Closely related to the Questioning skill is the ability to actively listen to everything being said and also what is not being openly said. The key for the sales person is to focus on the customer when the customer is talking and particularly when answering questions presented by the sales person. The number one flaw with aggressive sales people is they are too busy thinking about what they will say next, mentally rehearsing the script plan or just plain thinking about other things unrelated to moment.
Sales Superstars take the proactive listening skill to the next level – giving them a competitive advantage and greater trust with their customers. There are several reasons to improve our listening skills: First, you actually hear the answer from the customer. I know this sounds strange, yet, many sales people miss the answers to their questions. This causes issues when the sales person asks the same or similar question to uncover information the customer has all ready supplied. Credibility drops immediately causing a lack of trust.
Second, the sales person assumes understanding of general statements or buzz words. This is another major mistake. Always ask for clarity regarding general statements or buzz words. NOTE: Your definition may not be the same as your customer’s definition. When asked correctly, the customer notices your were listening intently and wanted the customer’s point of view. Lose the assumptions as quick as possible – get specific meaning from the customer.
Third, use your experience and make note of things not being discussed or missing from an response. The term is called “listening for the meta talk” and is an advanced form of communication skill. Yet, the sales superstars use this to uncover truths, bias, and a gap or lack of knowledge on the customer’s part. Again, creating a competitive advantage in the sales process. Staying focused on the customer and their responses to questions or statements about their processes shows respect to the customer.
Finally, really listening to the customer, asking for clarity regarding their answers By the way, some people tell you to summarize what the customer says – it is more effective to repeat exactly what they say whenever you can. Using their exact words increases the understanding on their part and the trust they commit to you. The most important thing is customers will like you more! They will look forward to your future visits and will call you back when you call! Amazing? No, its called listening.
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