Sometimes, becoming a better salesperson simply comes down to thinking like a customer. People like to feel they are being heard and improving your active listening skills can help salespeople quickly build rapport that is critical in gaining the customer’s trust, and ultimately making the sale. Practicing active listening techniques can help you serve the customer better while also increasing your chances of earning their business, because being a good listener helps you gather the information necessary to address their needs and overcome any concerns.
There are several active listening techniques you can use to make sure you’re keeping focus where it belongs: on the customer. But first, ask yourself why active listening skills, which seem so fundamental, are so hard for most people to master.People like to feel they are being heard and improving your active listening skills can help salespeople quickly build rapport and ultimately make the sale. Click To Tweet
Here are just a few of the reasons people don’t listen well:
Talking too much: Talking puts us in the driver’s seat, in control, where most of us prefer to be, but listening lets the other person speaking briefly lead the conversation. That can be scary, but not if you think of it the right way.
Get sharp tip: While listening opens the door to the unknown, it also opens the door to opportunity. The customer might share his or her main objection. Bingo! Now you know what you need to overcome their objections and build trust. Changing the way you think about interpersonal communication is an active listening technique you can practice to improve your sales results.
Thinking ahead: While the customer is talking, it’s tempting to start planning your response. After all, what if he or she finishes speaking, and you’re left struggling to come up with a response. The problem, of course, is that while your full attention is focused on writing the perfect, cucumber-cool reply in your head, you’re missing all the invaluable information and nonverbal cues the customer is sharing.
Get sharp tip: While getting out of your own head can be one of the trickiest active listening skills to master, remember that by the time you get to unveil your perfectly composed response, it might already be out of date. The customer may have already shifted his or her interest to other topics. So instead of tuning out while you think up the ideal answer, pay attention and learn to buy yourself time in other ways. Take a deep breath before you speak or compliment the customer on his or her question. Saying something like, “that’s a really interesting point,” is an active listening technique that can give you back those few seconds you need to pull your thoughts together.
Acting like you’re listening: We have trained through social norms that listening is about nodding, smiling, making eye contact, and showing interest in what the other person is saying. The problem is, sometimes we’re so good at the “show” that when the conversation is over, we realize we haven’t really heard most of what the other person has said.
Get Sharp Tip: An easy way to improve your active listening skills is to repeat back all or part of what the customer says. This might feel silly at first, but it will force you to stop acting like you’re listening and really listen.Practicing this active listening technique can help you listen carefully to absorb more of what the customer is saying, providing you with valuable ammo and key points you can use to solve problems to address their concerns and close the sale.
Improving your listening skills isn’t easy. Getting good at active listening involves breaking deeply ingrained habits, but just like body language or facial expressions, listening can be improved by staying focused and practicing. Try some of the active listening techniques above to keep yourself present and tuned in while interacting with customers. Notice how much more information you’re able to gather about the customer. As active listening begins to pay off in the form of more sales, you may find that it will become easier as well. Eventually, you may start to see active listening as yet another essential tool your sales arsenal, a must-have interpersonal skill that can help catapult you toward your career goals!
We are Cydcor, the recognized leader in outsourced sales and marketing services located in Agoura Hills, California. From our humble beginnings as an independent sales company to garnering a reputation for consistently exceeding client expectations and driving outstanding revenue growth, Cydcor has been helping Fortune 500 and emerging companies achieve their customer acquisition, retention, and business goals since 1994. Cydcor takes pride in the unique combination of in-person sales, call center, and digital marketing services we offer to provide our clients with proven sales and marketing strategies that get results.