Sales is all about good communication. Everyone dreams of that perfect pitch that wows the client and brings home the big sale. Good listening can be easily overlooked, but may one of the most important skill a salesperson needs to use every sales pitch. We too often try to convince people our product or service will solve all their problems, without really ever asking what their challenges actually are. This just gives them an excuse to tune you out and withhold that sale, much to your dismay. Learn to listen, and you’ll see your sales grow, and clients bringing their repeat business back to you.
Ask Questions and Listen to Their Respose
Begin your conversation with questions. You want to learn as much about your client as you can. Think of great questions that tell you about your clients life, their story, and what challenges they and their business might have. Find common ground, and match their emotion. If they tell a joke or a funny story, laugh with them. If they tell a sad story, empathize with them before you offer solutions. Authentically care. If you care for people, they will sense it and will reciprocate with their attention when it’s your turn.
Remember the Details That Are Important to the Customer
Bring up little details they shared when you were asking questions. Adapt your metaphors in a way that impacts them personally and professionally. This is important not only for the current meeting, but every visit after. When you meet that customer a month from now, and you ask them how their daughter’s volleyball club did at that tournament they were looking forward to at your last meeting, they feel like your most important client. After each interaction jot down details if you don’t have a memory for such things.
Pace is Critical
Get away from that auctioneer voice, creating artificial urgency. Slow the conversation down. Pace yourself. Give enough pauses to let your client ask questions and process what you’re saying. Don’t interrupt them when they’re talking. Give them the floor, you’re there to help them.
Everyone wants to be understood, so let your client know you understand. This is done by speaking back what they are saying to you, but put it in your own words. Your customer can tell if you accurately understand what they’re saying. Miscommunication can alter what you hear for the rest of the conversation, so head it off before it becomes an issue.
Read Between the Lines
Communication is so much more than just the words that are said, but also how they’re said. On the phone, you can listen to the tone in the voice, the stress associated with the words being said. In person, read facial expressions and body language. You can tell what matters most to someone by the way they talk about it. And don’t forget to empathize and match their emotion. What’s important to the client should be important to you.
Listen and Grow
Active listening can help you put your relationship with your customer first. A client who is cared for will come back to someone who cares when the time comes that they need a service you offer. Treat your clients like family, and they’ll consider you as a part of theirs again and again.