There’s a lot for us salespeople to think about in customer interviews. What with asking half-decent questions, focussing on the client, the agenda and what we want to get out of the meeting, it’s sometimes a real challenge just to keep up with the conversation. But there’s nothing more important than to listen to the client.
And that can be the whole problem.
The client will sometimes drop a hint or suggestion of a need in a meeting and they’ll only drop it once. And if we miss it…
If you’re meeting a client to understand their needs, start with a blank sheet of paper, just as an artist starts with a blank canvas.
Of course we need to have prepared good needs-focussed questions, and we need to keep the client on track, but if we’re not closely listening to everything the client says we’ll probably miss the scraps of information that we need most.
Focus hard on the things that are important. If a client says something like ‘We were let down by another supplier’, don’t jump in with a solution but rather file it away in your mind, find out what’s important to them and then use the information that you’ve obtained when it comes to suggesting solutions to meet the clients’ needs. Dig further to get to the root of the issue.
Once or twice in most sales meetings the client will give you a vital piece of information. When you hear it, have an imaginary alarm go off in your head. You’ve been highly privileged to be informed of something highly important. In a lot of cases, sensible use of this information will help you to clinch a sale.
We’re given 2 ears and 1 mouth. As salespeople we should use them in that proportion.
Listen, you might hear something!