As we said in a previous BEAM:
To sell more:
-Tell it with Passion.
-Listen with Intensity.
-Show it with Enthusiasm.
Now, we are looking at each of these sales improving
practices individually. The goal is to make your
pocket-book fatter, by making your sales better.
These suggestions are critical to work on, if you want to
improve your sales performance. They will work; IF
if you work on them.
The Hard Hitting Sales technique, we are working on
today is – Listen with intensity.
You can talk yourself right out of a sale. I have worked
with many sales people, rookies and so-called pro’s alike
that could not shut up at critical points in the sale. It is
a frequent need to step on a salesman’s foot under the
table to keep them from talking, at the wrong time during
a sales dialogue. The problem is that sales professionals
often do not know how to listen.
I left the corporate selling dimension because of asian
exportation of my industry and entered the modular home
sales profession. I learned that listening is critical to
success in both but that different listening skills for each
environment are needed to effectively close deals.
The corporate role in selling involves much more
listening. to strengthen the network of relationships
within a given prospective company. While selling to
an individual consumer must focus entirely on the
individual prospect. … Few salesmen know how to
moderate their selling skills to various types of
environments. In fact, most do not know how to focus
their skills to maximize impact in their own trade
I have discovered that the most necessary skill
set to transport from selling environment, to selling
environment is effective listening skills. Here are
some of those that will improve your sales game, in
whatever industry you find yourself.
- How do you get a customer to talk? This is all too often the tripping point for most salesmen. There is a moment of awkward silence and right away, the sales professional begins talking. The truth is that a pregnant pause can be healthy to the sale. If the salesperson quits talking, most often the customer will talk. And to learn how to proceed in the sale; it is critical that the sales pro hears, listens and understands the customer.
- Ask him/her questions. Everybody’s favorite topic is themselves. And if the sales pro can learn to shut up long enough; most prospects will get around to discussing themselves. Even those prospects reluctant to open up respond to this technique. Ask them questions. Open questions to get broad information about the customer and what they want. Closed questions to narrow down and clarify the customer’s needs. Asking questions expertly is the single most important factor, to strengthen the approach of most salesmen. How many questions are you asking? What kind of questions are you asking? Could there be different kinds of questions that you should ask? These are key to improving your sales game.
- How do you convince a customer you are interested in him/her? This is so key to increasing your sales closing percentage. Customers will not buy from someone who they do not believe is interested in them. One of the best ways to ensure that the customer knows that you are interested in them is establishing a rapport bridge. Do not rush into the sale. Warm up to the customer and not just to make the sale. Take the time to be interested in your client as a human being. Express genuine concern about them and you will find customers anxious to buy from you. Because they know you are their friend. ……Make a friend. Sell a _____ (whatever it is that you are selling)!!!! . Relationship selling is key to success.
- How do you lose a sale? Don’t ask the customer questions. How many times have I heard a salesman lose a sale in the close, because he/she did not find out that the customer was comparing him to competition? Too many to count. There are key things that you must know, before trying to close a customer. Make yourself a list. If you do not know the answers to these things, do not attempt the close; until you ask enough questions to know. Truly. The quickest way to lose a sale is not asking enough AND the right questions!
- Know when to SHUT UP! I trained with and old pro. who owned a company early in my career who would literally step on your foot, if you said anything after you asked for the business. He was a firm believer (& so am I) that the next one who talks at this point buys. And if the salesman talks at this point, he winds up buying the customer’s excuses. Know when to shut up; especially if you have asked for the business.
- You are not important. Ouch. That hurts. But its true. If you want to grow your sales game. You are not important. Sometimes sales professionals must just get out-of-the-way, so their customers can buy. In a retail setting, the customer does not come to see you because they need a friend. They come to see you, because they have an active interest in your product or service. Focus on them. Focus on the excellence of your product. Do not be so preoccupied with yourself that the customer can not get what they want.
- The customer is important. The customer is important. The customer is important. PERIOD.
- Name these important details about your customer. A. Is there anybody else whose opinion matters in the customers decision to buy? B. What is the customers favorite pass-time pursuit? C. Does the customer have children? D. Does the prospect have; or can the prospect obtain; the resources to make the purchase? If you can not answer these questions; you should not advance to the closing table.
- The customer has said he’s going to buy; what else do you say?? Nothing. Let your pen do the talking. Write him up. ONLY ask questions that are needed to clarify the order. You have said enough at this point.
Having been a sales professional all of my life; I guess a little arrogant prudery had set in, before a major career move that I made 7 years ago. It was only in this new selling environment that I learned a whole new dimension to my selling; active listening. I had a coach who worked with me to be an involved effective listener. I credit Mr. Mike Moquin with this assistance.
He taught me that You can hear, without listening. He helped me ask vital, deeper questions. What is the customers body language saying? What is the customers voice tone saying? What is the customer saying, behind what he is saying? What is the customers motive? What does the customer want? Paying attention to detail can be the key to winning the confidence of the customer.
Get involved in listening to your customers. Pay attention to everything about them. What kind of clothes they wear. What kind of car they drive. What kind of things do they like. This kind of listening is not passive. It is active. To achieve this kind of better listening, you must actively pay attention to your customer. Intently study both what the prospect say and what they don’t say.