Have you ever heard a prospect say “you’re not hearing me” or simply get agitated while you discuss your sales proposition to them? That is because they don’t feel like they have been heard. Active listening is the salesperson’s secret weapon.
What is active listening?
Active listening is when a person listens to what is being said, responds in a thoughtful manner and remembers what has been said. This type of listening builds up trust and rapport with your client which will make them more keen to buy from you. Everyone just wants to be heard so when you listen actively you will satisfy the human need of wanting to be heard. Through active listening the salesperson is able to understand objections better, overcome initial resistance and close more sales.
How do you listen actively?
When you a listen actively you may hear something you would like to comment on, but instead of interrupting write down your comment or question and let the speaker continue talking until they are finished.
Before you start to speak wait 2-3 seconds to make sure that the client has finished speaking. This will give you time to think about your answer and give them an intelligent and well-thought-out reply. It will also encourage them to speak more if they feel the need to.
Listen for information
Listen to the words and if there could be any underlying means and also watch the client’s body language. Body language communicates 80% of the message a client is sending you. The information you should be listening for:
- what is missing.
- concerns the client may have or what is important to them.
- what they value.
- what they want and need in order to fill in the gap between what they have now and what they want.
When you have this information you will be better positioned to offer your best product or service to your client.
Paraphrase what you heard
The first way you could paraphrase what you heard is to repeat what your client said word-for-word. This is called parroting. Try not to do it too often because your prospect may get annoyed and think you don’t understand what they are saying. It is better to paraphrase what the client has said or even use your own words to express what you understand from what was said by the client. This gives the client opportunity to correct you if you may have said something which is not what they meant and shows you were actively listen and able to digest what they had said.
Confirm for clarity
After you have repeated what was said by the client, you could say one of the following phrases to confirm that you have understood them correctly:
- “Did I communicate that back to you correctly?”
- “Do I correctly understand what you have shared?”
- “Is that what you meant?”
If the reply “no” then you could follow up with asking them to explain more clearly what you didn’t understand.
Ask excellent follow-up questions
After you have paraphrased and clarified what your client has said it is time to ask an open-ended follow-up question to get more information from your client. This will give your client the opportunity to share more about their wants and needs and objections. By getting your prospect to think critically aloud about their problem, they may come to the conclusion that the solution you are offering is what they need to succeed in their business.
By following these six points you will be well on your way to listening actively and winning more deals.
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