How do sales happen in your business? Is there an in-house process? Do you rely on a script built around some NLP training? Are your sales people so excited about your products that they can’t wait to get out there and tell anyone who will listen?
If you’re like most businesses, then you will probably find that your sales strategy is a mixture of all of the above, and who wouldn't want enthusiastic sales people who can’t wait to list off all the great things about your latest products and services? Well, actually, maybe this bit needs a bit more thought…
What characteristics do you look for in a good sales person? Let’s generalise and say they should be: charismatic, dynamic, personable, cheerful, articulate, able to think on their feet, and to store and processes information quickly. Someone who can sell your products and services, and present your business in a good light. They can ‘talk the talk’.
But, did you know that 95% of prospects think that sales people talk too much?
Potential customers don’t want to be bombarded with a list of must-have products and services. They want someone who will listen to their challenges, and provide a solution that solves their problems.
In fact, figures show that 74% of buyers said they’d actually buy more, if the seller would simply listen to them.
So, customers want to be listened to and understood. Their interaction with your products and services are peculiar to them, and simply listing off the special offers, will not necessarily meet their needs. The skill is to whittle out and focus on their specific needs. To do this successfully, you need to be listening and really hearing what they are saying. You need to identify their particular challenges and find ways that your products and services can support those challenges, solve those problems.
For this to happen, you need to be asking open questions, and hearing the answers. Listening to what’s said — and unsaid. Taking on board, non-verbal communication, body language, tone and pitch of voice, and so on.
Being customer-focussed means just that: focussing completely on the customer — not on your catalogue or script (although these tools still have a part to play). By actively listening and gathering information, you can be clearer about when and how to deliver your concise, persuasive message. Active listening is the foundation for a mutually valuable relationship, which can go on to shape not only your customer’s business, but also the potential of your own business and sales.
Listening is the new selling! Give it a try and see how it benefits your business.
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