Selling isn’t something that is done by the fast talkers. It is a true process that takes a bit of time to do it right.
If you don’t slow down, you certainly do not do what you truly need to do to sell properly. Will you have some success? Sure but is some enough?
It is amazing how many people have absolutely no idea how to listen.
Hearing is totally different from listening because lots of things can be heard without really paying attention. News flash: Listening to and understanding what people really mean is not the same as just hearing the words they say.
Let me say that again because it is really important.
Hearing is simply taking notice of the words they say. Listening is uncovering what people mean. Words are not what you should be paying attention to, because the meaning behind them is much more important.
We all know what that means. When your spouse asks, “What is wrong?” and you say, “Nothing,” you know that is not true. You are saying words that really have a hidden meaning.
When someone makes a statement or asks you a question, you need to understand what the person really means before you answer. Here is an example:
You are in the document-recovery business, and a prospect asks, “Do you work with ABC Documents?”
You Need to Listen
ABC is number one in the business. So, you proudly answer, “Well, yes, we do. We have been successfully doing business with them for several years and have helped them tremendously in a couple of areas.”
The answer from the prospect is, “Oh. Umm, ok.” The prospect’s real issue could be that he is afraid inside information could mistakenly be shared, and he would never consider working with anyone involved with ABC.
Of course, you will never know that from his words. You did not find out why the prospect asked the question. You just answered it, assuming he would be impressed with the answer.
The cost of not listening is huge. Contrary to popular belief, sales is all about listening—not talking.
I wish I could get people to understand how important it is to listen at the deepest level. Listening is how you get prospects to self-realize that they need what you have. The idea of asking them good questions and not telling them to buy is a difficult concept to get across.
Listening skills are the most valuable ones we have when it comes to learning what the market wants, what our people want, and what it takes to solve virtually any problem. The challenge is that we actually think we are listening when we are really only “surface listening.”
Why do we do that? We want to make a great first impression, show how smart we are, list our attributes and successes, and tell them what we can do for them.
When we slow down to listen to what is really meant by the questions prospects ask and the statements they make, and truly connect with the thought, feeling, and person, then we learn what is really going on inside the client or business. And “inside” is where the decisions are really made.
So, how do we listen? Listening is a participatory sport. So, we need to follow these rules:
First rule of listening: Shut up.
Do not let the pressures of time close your ears and stimulate your tongue. You do not have to prove anything. You know what you know. But you do not know what your prospect knows. That is the voice you want to hear.
Second rule of listening: Listen.
- Okay, so that sounds obvious. But do you actually do it?
Typically, we listen for a clue or “buying signal” (whatever that is), and then we start to tell. For example, someone says, “Well, we have had trouble getting copies fast enough.”
You instantly reply, “Oh, we can help with that. Our machine is fast and—blah, blah, blah.”
Stop talking. You have a great opportunity to really understand what is going on with the prospect. Dig deeper. That is where the real issue is. You will miss it if you do not really listen and ask the prospect to elaborate.
Third rule of listening: It is all about them.
Here is a challenge for you: Observe conversations you are participating in or that others are having. Notice how many are “me” conversations. People tell you something—for instance, about their vacation or their child. Many of us respond with something about our vacation or our child. Now, who is listening?
You know what you have to offer. So, the more airtime you give to “them”—your family, your staff, your clients—the more beneficial it will be to you. Rather than jump in with a response, just listen. It is not about you. It is all about them.
Listen. It is amazing what you will learn.