How client-focused is your sales strategy? You’ve heard the advice that sales is about helping the client and not about making money. But are you actively putting that advice into practice? A solid foundation to build effective sales on are your listening skills. According to Selling Power’s article, “Become a Better Listener in any Sales Situation,” here are a few tips to ensure you’re not only listening to your client, but that they’re also feeling heard.
The first step to listening is to give the potential client the opportunity to speak. Monologues are not effective sales pitches. During a monologue,you’re talking at the potential client, potentially and involuntarily making them feel isolated from you. And, you’re learning nothing from them. If this is your first meeting with a potential new client, no matter how much research you’ve done, there is still so much you don’t know about them and their company’s needs. So, open up the floor to them. Ask them questions to show that you value getting to know them, as well as their input. Selling Power editors recommend asking questions such as, “What is your current purchasing process?”
Let the Client Speak
Once you’ve got the client talking, don’t cut them off. Some people get disheartened or even angry when they are interrupted mid-sentence or mid-thought. So, keep a mental tally of the comments you’d like to make and questions you want to ask and save them for when the client has finished speaking. By then some of your questions may have been answered. And, asking questions based on different parts of the client’s response shows that you were listening and thinking through everything they had to say. That will help them feel valued.
Read Body Language and Emotions
According to Selling Power, “Theoretically, 20% of communication is strictly facts and 80% is emotion.” So, what else is your client telling you while they’re speaking?re they talking in hurried tones and keeping their arms tucked near their torso which indicates nervousness? Are they smiling and gesturing frequently, thus expressing genuine happiness? Or, while you’re speaking, are they acting bored, lounging in their seat and looking around the room? Words only say so much. Body language and how the words are delivered say so much more about the client’s true emotions.