Partners in Performance Blog

How Listening and Sales Go Together

An often overlooked sales skill is listening. And I mean really listening. To the point of “zipping it!” Listening is a pre-requisite for persuasion. If your client or prospect  doesn’ t feel  heard,  they will resist your offer.

Here’s what I tell my clients who want better sales results: Listen with the intention to hear. So often we fall into the bad habit of listening with the intention to answer without really hearing what’s said. This is flat out dangerous. It costs you sales.

For example, when coaching sales people on questioning skills, I encourage them to stay in questioning mode much longer than what feels normal to them.  And, I suggest they ask better quality questions to fully understand their clients’ needs.

But when I observe them in the field or during role-play, I notice that it isn’t just questioning skills that need attention. They aren’t listening deeply to the answers that their clients are offering them. Instead,  they’re focusing on their next question. A golden nugget is offered up by the client or prospect, and the sales person doesn’t even hear it. They miss the opportunity to dig deeper and go for more gold.

Poor listening also shows up when responding to objections. Instead of getting defensive and reacting to the objections with quick answers, ask more questions first to fully understand the concern and what lies beneath it. And then, again, really listen to the answers.

When you listen with the intent to hear, the next logical question will appear.  Resist the temptation to answer too quickly. When you ask several questions and really listen to the answers, the client will feel heard and you will both stay calm while you try to resolve the concern together. And the key benefit is that you now have a much deeper understanding of their concern which sets you up to respond to the objection more successfully.

Questioning and listening skills go hand in hand together like a horse and carriage. You can’t have one without the other.

Listening is one of those critical sales skills that we can always hone and get better at. To find out how well you are doing, take the listening self quiz. Better still, give it to a significant other to rate you. I dare you!

What is your experience of listening? Drop me a comment. I would love to hear.

This entry was posted by TanjaParsley on March 13, 2012 in Handling Objections, Listening Skills, Persuasion, Questioning Skills. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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