Research has it that adults spend an average of 70% of their time communicating, of this 45% is spent listening, 30% speaking, 16% reading and 9% writing.
A sales professional is known to have the ability to communicate with prospects. But even the best sales professional has two flaws to watch out for:
- They talk too much, despite their best intentions.
- They are extremely eager to seal the deal, because they’re under so much pressure to sell.
Sales professionals survives the stress of such a demanding profession because they have strong egos. But do note that prospects too have strong ego, and they want to talk as much as you do. Hence, remember the “two ears and one mouth” rule of thumb. So listen twice as much as you speak.
Very often, selling is mistaken for just having the “gift of the gab”. That cannot be more wrong. A sales professional need to be able to listen actively.
Do understand the difference between listening and hearing. Listening means putting in intentional effort to hear what one is saying.
A good sales professional is always listening for the prospect’s needs, wants, aspiration and desires. You are supposed to listen and gather pertinent information. This will help to close the sale. Understanding the prospect’s interaction style will also prevent miscommunication.
When you can listen, you can detect possible objections and also pick up on what the prospect is not saying.
Nobody likes to be ignored. To put it in another way, everyone wants to be heard. So here is how you can be a good listener:
- Never assume you know what your prospect is about to say. ASS.U.ME – putting an ass in front of you and me.
- Take a genuine interest in what they are saying. Force your mind not to wander. This will break your concentration.
- Understand what is said and take it in. Digest. Information is king.
- Write it down. A sales professional is a doctor giving prescription. To give the right solution, you need to pay attention and writing helps you listen attentively.
- Do not always take what your prospect says at face value. Question their statements. It is a sign of attention.
- Do not interrupt or cut your prospect short.
- I cannot say this enough. S.E.E.(smile, eye contact, enthusiasm)
- Use positive body language; leaning forward, do not fidgeting, do not cross arms or don’t you be looking elsewhere.
- Have some empathy. This is definitely very different from sympathy. You need to understand them without becoming them. Put yourself in their shoes so that you can see what they are getting at.
- Nod to acknowledge and give auditory feedback e.g. “Yea, I see”, “No, really?” or even “Mmhmm” in a sincere and interested way.
Listening requires concentration and patience. Now read these two lines aloud.
- The yolk of an egg is white
- The yolk of an egg are white
Which is the correct answer? If you get it right, you are a good listener. If you got it wrong, you have some practicing to do. The answer is………Neither. The yolk of an egg is yellow, not white.