Recently I was interviewing a Sales Agent for a Builder Client. The Agent talked the entire interview and barely left air for me to ask questions. He went on and on about himself. And while I am sure he may have been nervous, I couldn’t help but think, “If he talks this much to me, how will the customer get a word in edgewise?” I definitely look for good listeners when I hire.
You have heard the old saying, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” And boy is that true with sales.
A Sales Presentation should be called a Sales Attention Session, because you should be paying attention to what the prospect is talking about, not Presenting. Many Sales People worry about dumping all the features of their product as soon as possible, almost as if throwing out lots of chum hoping one of the bits will catch a fish. But you can fish smarter than that in in Sales you must be smarter than that, especially this day in age. If you are going to worry about anything, worry about the next question you are going to ask to deepen the conversation or acting on buying signals they give you. By the way, you can hear buying signals if you are talking.
Prospects aren’t interested in what you have to sell, they are interested in what they want to buy. It’s your job to figure out, via questioning, what they want to buy and sell it to them. Through active listening and great questions, you can build rapport quicker and thus get to the “close” quicker.
One thing to remember is that 80% of prospects now visit your website before they visit your location so they may already be familiar with your product. Each prospect has key buying elements that through questions you can discover and give to them to solidify the sale. (Ex: I discover through questioning that the reason my prospect is looking for a home is because they are tired of living in an older home and the living space is too small.) If you are going to talk about your product, make sure you talk about benefits that make a difference to your buyer. Benefits you realize are important to them through listening. So in my example, not only would I take them to a home that features a large family living space, but then I would bring up all of the energy efficient benefits of a new home as I was casually showing the home.
“Selling” is not about “telling” and it’s not about “showing”. It’s about “paying attention” and “listening to learn” and sometimes biting your tongue. Then using what you learn to help the prospect relate your product to the satisfaction of their wants and needs. (And, helping them discover pertinent benefits that will help them make their buying decision.) This is accomplished by asking thought-provoking questions and then listening… listening… listening.
When you get the prospect talking, be quiet; don’t interrupt. You can open your ears or you can open your mouth, but you can’t do both at the same time. Let the prospect finish, then ask questions or make comments. If you’re thinking about what you are going to say…you are not listening!
And finally write down everything you learn about that prospect. Just in case today is not the day to buy for them, you can provide some meaningful follow up gathered from your note taking. If you don’t write it down you won’t remember!
Give this very important skill a try this week and watch it turn around your sales conversion rates!