How to sell with more Confidence
Despite what most people think, Selling is not about Telling. Salespeople believe that when they are sitting in front of a prospective customer they have to keep talking. In fact, they believe that the more talking they are doing the better. Of course, you have to present what you are selling but that comes later. What must come first is LISTENING.
If you want to be a good salesperson, you have to be a good listener. It is in my view the most important skill of successful selling. Yet sales people ignore it, believing they are great listeners and when they do not close the deal, they wonder where they went wrong. I challenge you to ask yourself one question every time you get back into your car after a sales call ‘where you really LISTENING or just waiting for your turn to speak’.
People do not listen any more as they are so distracted by what is going on around them and by their own thoughts and judgements. Take a disagreement with a customer, people are often more concerned about formulating a response to what is being said and are not focusing their attention on the complaint. Therefore, they miss vital signals and the real issues that are being put forward. So what can we do? How can we become a good listener? What are the benefits when we really listen to our prospective and existing customers? Excellent questions to ponder so let’s make a start.
What do we mean by Effective Listening? This is a form of listening that focuses the attention on the other person. The salesperson gives the customer their full attention and then paraphrases what has been said. For example, ‘so what I hear you saying is..............’ This is good for both the sales person and the customer as it ensures there is no misunderstanding between them.
When we listen, everyone benefits and there is a win-win for all concerned. A customer or prospective customer knows instinctively when they are not being listened to. If we truly listen to them, they are more likely to explain what they really feel. When they believe someone is attuned to their concerns and really wants to listen they will talk more and open up. This provides a great opportunity as the chances of being able to develop a real solution to their problem becomes much greater. This in essence is what real selling is all about.
Why not start today, right here right now as you read this article to develop your listening skills. With listening skills development, you can build better and stronger relationships in every area of your life. In the business environment, listening is a desired skill as it creates a culture of meaningful engagement. We have all heard the old adage that people leave their manager and not their job. Would you believe that most of the reasons cited are that people feel they are not being listened to by their manager and feel they have no say or input into the company.
Of all the communications skills, listening is arguably the one that makes the biggest difference. Listening does not come naturally to most people, so we need to work hard at it; to stop ourselves 'jumping in' and giving our opinions. Some people are often more interested in expressing their own views and experiences rather than really listening and understanding others.
Covey says rightly that when we are understood we feel affirmed and validated. He coined the expression: 'Seek first to understand, and then to be understood', which serves as a constant reminder for the need to listen to the other person before you can expect them to listen to you.
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