(By Rick Fink) Every once in a while, I meet a salesperson who proudly proclaims, “I’ve got the gift of gab.” In sales, that “gift” is more aptly described as “the curse of chatter”.
Successful sales professionals know that sales are really more about listening than they are about talking.
Those with the curse more often engage in product or feature-speak than they do in providing customer-focused solutions or opportunities.
Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care….and caring is demonstrated by listening.
Listening is by far the most important and difficult skill a sales professional can learn and practice. The salespeople who annoy and alienate prospects the most are those who claim to be good listeners but follow every customer objection with a “yah, but….”
There is no room for the word ‘But’ in a good listener’s vocabulary.
To be a professional listener you need to:
- Earn the right to ask questions by learning something about the prospect’s business before you make a call
- Prepare with open-ended questions that encourage the prospect to express their views and feelings
- Demonstrate you are listening by taking notes. (Always ask permission to take notes, “Your input is important to me; do you mind if I take a few notes?”)
- Paraphrase and summarize what you hear. Don’t start a debate
- Use the language and needs you hear the customer express when you make your presentation
- Make certain that every benefit you present relates to a need you heard the prospect express
There’s a lot more money to be made being interested than there is in being interesting. So why not, shut your trap, bite your lip, zip the lips, and make some money!
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