Listening is one of the most important, yet severely misunderstood, components of the sales process. While many people assume “selling” and “talking” are synonymous, the opposite is true. Poor listening is one of the primary reasons a sale is lost, while intent listening behaviors enhance the levels of trust between the lead and the salesperson. Fortunately, it is never too late to learn how to listen. Read these tips from the closet organization business experts at Organizers Direct to learn how to improve your listening skills and earn more sales.
Match the Conversation’s Pace
While each conversation with a customer should be comprised of 75 percent listening and 25 percent talking, it is important to monitor the way you talk during those moments where your input is required. Pace the speed of your speech to match the individual customer. People talk at the same rate as they think. If your customer tends speak quickly, match your speed to theirs in order to hold their attention. If the customer speaks more slowly in order to think about what is being said, slow down when you speak to avoid overwhelming them.
Interrupting anyone while they are speaking is rude, especially if the speaker happens to be a prospective customer. Interruptions might cause you to miss out on information the prospect may have shared if they were allowed to continue to speak. A great salesperson will also allow a few seconds of silence once it seems as if the prospect has finished speaking. People feel naturally compelled to fill this silence, and by continuing to listen before jumping in with points of your own, the prospect may have something to add that they would have otherwise failed to mention.
Active listening requires more than silence. Poor listeners will silently allow the other person to speak while they are thinking about what they are going to say, and then they immediately talk when it is their turn in the conversation. In contrast, active listeners pay close attention to what the other person is saying and demonstrate their understanding of what has been said. For example, as a salesperson, you should paraphrase the prospect’s thoughts in your own words to show them you care and to gain clarification on any options you may have misunderstood. In addition, pay close attention to body language, recognizing how volume, speed and tone of voice can reflect a person’s feelings.
As a salesperson, you already ask questions to pre-qualify your leads, but asking great questions is an important component of listening as well. Ask open-ended questions and listen intently to the answers given to gain valuable insight into your customer’s needs and establish a good rapport. The more open-ended and relevant your questions are, the better the information you will glean.
Active listening takes practice, but is a habit that will pay off. Not only will it improve your sales, but you will find it has a positive impact in your personal relationships as well. If you have ever dreamed of owning your own custom closet and garage business, or if you already have a business and are looking for a new perspective, take the next step towards an exciting opportunity with Organizers Direct.