Listening: The Hardest Sales Skill To Master

listening: hardest sales skill to masterI was working with a salesperson on her client conversation. She was newer to sales and wants to kill it in her industry.

We spent a lot of time discussing how and what to ask. Questions drive everything, and keep you in control of your conversations.

We generated a list of questions to help keep her on task. These were, what I call, surface questions. They start the information gathering process.

The key to moving people to your ideas is buried in the listening. Having great questions help, but the answers cover the hidden gems.

Your client’s answer gives you the key that unlocks the door for your next question.

This is where she struggled.

This is where most people struggle. Listening.

We get caught up in the words the client speaks. We miss what was not said. How the client didn’t actually answer the question. How the tone of voice doesn’t match the content. And many, many more details.

I explained to her how most people are afraid to ask deep questions. We’re afraid we’re getting too personal or will make the customer angry or defensive. I’ve never had that happen (unless I did it on purpose, which can be useful).

It’s the exact opposite. When you ask questions people open up. You can’t not answer a question.

It’s not socially acceptable to not answer a question when asked.

You may end up with a long pause, a sigh, and then the client saying, “I dunno.”

When you get that it means they weren’t comfortable telling you, yet. There are ways to get the answer. You just have to be paying attention.

With more work she’ll be a great. She just needs to get out of her head, and probe more deeply into her client’s head. It comes with practice.

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