HARDISON’S TIPS – AUGUST 3, 2021 – Active Listening in Sales (PT.2)
The Benefits of Active Listening
- The salesperson saves time and frustration by being able to understand if there is a true “fit” between the solution offered and what the prospect really needs
- The salesperson gains a reputation as a trustworthy solution provider
- The salesperson makes more sales in less time due to being able to quickly channel sales efforts to more qualified targets
How to Use Active Listening in Your Selling Process
So, with the benefits of active listening clear for both buyer and seller, how can the smart salesperson use active listening to overcome objections and sell more (and more efficiently)? Here are some basic active listening techniques:
- Listen with your eyes. Maintain eye contact to establish and keep a better communication connection with the prospect.
- Be aware of body language. Adopt an “open” listening posture. Lean in as you listen. Nod to express understanding. Smile. Don’t cross your arms or legs in a defensive, “closed up” manner.
- Avoid the temptation to interrupt. Don’t interject features and benefits of your product or service while the prospect is explaining their need. There will be time to describe your solution later – if it really is the solution the prospect needs.
- Don’t just hear the words, but truly listen for their underlying meaning.
- Take notes. This tells the prospect that you want to get the details right.
- Repeat for understanding. Periodically during the conversation, say, “Let me make sure I understand what you’re saying,” and then repeat a key point the prospect has just expressed. Validating understanding shows a high level of concern and care.
- Ask questions when necessary for clarification. Although frequent interruptions should be avoided, if you are truly unclear about something the prospect has said, ask for clarification. Just avoid the temptation to piggyback that clarification with a premature sales pitch.
The Bottom Line:
Zig Ziglar once said, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” To help prospects get what they want, you must understand their needs. To gain this understanding, use active listening. This technique can strengthen the bond between salesperson and customer. It can ensure that solutions address real needs and lead to greater customer satisfaction. And above all, it can boost sales in two ways: 1) it qualifies prospects earlier in the sales process, and 2) it leads to more efficient selling with less time wasted overcoming objections. Ultimately, active listening benefits both the buyer and the seller – especially when used to discover alignment between the buyer’s needs and how your product or service solutions address those needs.