Posted: January 28, 2013
Listen your way to a sale
Find out what matters to your prospectGary Harvey
People buy for their reasons, not yours. Sometimes they even buy in spite of you. Once you accept that premise, your mindset should be to find out what is important to the prospect.
The easiest way to do this is by asking questions, and by listening to their responses. By listening, I mean taking note of what they are saying and responding appropriately. Using the technique called "Active Listening" will go a long way in developing the sales cycle.
An integral part of "Active Listening" is known as backtracking, or being able to review and summarize aloud to your prospect what they just told you. There are four reasons for doing this:
1. To be sure that you understand your prospect's statements.
2. To allow your prospect to correct or revise their comment.
3. To gain rapport by letting the prospect know you are listening to them.
4. To give you time to think about what to say next.
By using the other person's key words and prefacing your response appropriately with statements like "So what you are saying is . . .," "Let me see if I understand....,” “What I hear you saying is…,” “You're feeling like…,” you enable your client to keep talking more than 70 percent of the time. You then begin to extract their concerns. Using their exact words is usually better than using your words because it reduces the risk of misunderstanding to practically zero.
Repeating the other person's words is very powerful. Usually you can pick up their key words by listening to the vocal emphasis they put on them. To insure that you build and maintain rapport as you are repeating, be sure that your voice quality and gestures communicate interest to your prospect.
You want your prospect to know that you are attentive and understand what he or she is communicating to you. Taking notes will help with the repeating process and shows that you are really tuned in.
Studies have shown that words are only 7 percent of communication. That means if you rely on words only, you are leaving 93 percent of your communication in the car. Therefore, you must pay attention to facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures and posture. When you learn to notice and understand the non-verbal message, along with fine-tuned listening skills, your sales calls will improve dramatically.
There are really only two steps in the sales process:
1. Communicating to your prospect the simple message "I understand you .”
2. Your prospect must have the belief and conviction that you can help them and that they are willing and able to use your help.
If you repeat words such as "I see…," "I hear…," and “I understand…,” to your prospect, you will ultimately become a better communicator and listener.
Gary Harvey is the founder and president of Achievement Dynamics, LLC, a high performance sales training, coaching and development company for sales professionals, managers and business owners. His firm is consistently rated by the Sandler Training as one of the top 10 training centers in the world. He can be reached at 303-741-5200, or firstname.lastname@example.org.