Posts Tagged ‘listen’

Your Sales Ingredients to Success: Part IIIa

April 23, 2008

So before moving on to the “real” part III of these ingredients, I wanted to address the area of listening as it is a subject that I think needs to be detailed a tad bit more. As I thought about the section of negotiating, I also realized that listening is a part in and of itself. So this section will be dedicated to that of listening. A reader asked me to help out with more questions as well to understand this part of the process to develop a good basis for negotiating, so I am going to include another section on questions. As a result, part 3 will have a listening section, a questions section, and then the negotiating section. So on to listening!


Here are some key factors when it comes to listening. You may have heard these before, but the reality is you have to think about how well you are actually applying them to your sales process and in your presentations and negotiating skills.

  • Listen; Don’t Talk – Basically what I am trying to say here is pay attention. In fact, paraphrase what they are saying in your own words just to be clear. Sometimes they struggle conveying what it is they are trying to say, so listen first and then see if you understood it.
  • Switch off the Negative – Sometimes we hear or know things about those we are presenting to that keep us from concentrating on what is being said. Turn those thoughts off! Be receptive to their message, since it is going to help you in your delivery later.
  • Don’t Plan Ahead– What?! What do you mean don’t plan? What I am trying to say here is oftentimes as people are speaking, we are always thinking about what we are going to be saying next. Remember, you are not on your time, but theirs. Their agenda is your agenda until you know what they want to present later.
  • Analyze – Think about what they are saying and what they are not saying. This is similar to the listening part mentioned above, but by analyzing what is said it helps in paraphrasing and trying to understand what is truly behind their reasons for wanting what you have.
  • No Interruptions! – Not only is it inconsiderate, it is rude, and can ruin their train of thought as they seek to express why and when they will buy from you. Why would you want to jeopardize knowing that information?!
  • Gauge them in Conversation – Asking the right questions is critical here. Plus it shows you are truly listening and asking deeper questions because you are being genuine in knowing and understanding their wants and needs.
  • Take Notes – Ask permission to take notes during the conversation. Jot down the most important points to remind you later how to prepare your presentation or to refer back to later on in the meeting to clarify and adjust your presentation.
  • No Distractions – I remember when I was playing baseball, one of the player’s dad owned this airplane (you know the kind…very loud and sometimes had flapping words dancing in the wind as it rolled in the sky). Every year with the new freshmen that came in, this dad would fly the airplane overhead during tryouts. For those of us who were veterans we knew the routine, but for the newbies, they had no clue that the coach was testing them on how distracted they were during play and testing. I am sure you can imagine what happened to those who just couldn’t focus. You need to concentrate on your client, whether or not that sign flying by in the sky has your name on it!
  • Focus – Look them in the eye; lean forward; use gestures of understanding and body language that shows you are listening.
  • Calm and Collected – Part of the focus factor is to remain calm even when the client may get revved up in what they are sharing.

So there you have it! Like I said, this may be a repeat of things you may already know, but even the greatest sales gurus review the fundamentals. Especially on a down day.