This is a series of tips on excellence in sales. First up, Active Listening, possibly the most important sales skill of them all!
What’s that you say? Listening. Yes I’m fine with that. We all think we’re good listeners, but in truth very few of us actually are. Getting in the zone when listening to your customers is vitally important, shutting out distractions and completely focussing on them.
You haven’t heard it all before. Customers will often say things only once and if you’re not listening, you’ll miss it and it’s gone.
10 Active Listening Skills to keep you ‘in the zone!’:
- Listen to learn, not to be polite.
- Turn off your own agenda.
- Ask questions.
- But don’t be thinking of the next question when your customer is talking.
- Make eye contact and pay attention to non-verbal clues.
- Be empathetic.
- Defer judgement and be open-minded. Don’t assume you’ve heard it all before.
- Listen with curiosity and enthusiasm.
- Wait until the other person has finished talking before you respond. Don’t interrupt!
- Summarise to check understanding, yours and the customers.
We can’t over-emphasise the importance of this skill. The best salespeople are also the best listeners.
“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk” – Doug Larson