I graduated with a degree in marketing in the middle of a recession. I applied for hundreds of marketing jobs, to no avail. The answer proved to be the world of professional selling, which taught me a great deal – partly because I was trained to sell by Rank Xerox. One of the many things that they taught me was the art of listening (is this subject taught in schools and universities?)
I am often surprised by the lack if listening skills amongst sales people. They are certainly keen to talk, quite often at some length. Would they be more successful if they listened more?
When a prospective client rings me, I ask open questions and get them talking. Recently, one of these conversations lasted for two and a half hours. I learned a great deal about the client, their plans and capabilities during this conversation. There was no pressure and no need for me to use closing techniques. At the end of call I said: “Why don’t you think it over?” The client replied that there was no need – they were happy to go ahead then and there.
When was the last time that someone really listened to you, without interrupting? Allowing someone to talk without getting in their way or constantly putting your point of view across can be a challenge, can’t it?
If you are selling a complex product or service, you will not succeed by beating clients to death with technical information and details. They have to trust you. Listening to them is an effective way of creating trust.
Selling is the fourth step of the process that I take businesses through:
Step 1: Plan.
Step 2: Website.
Step 3: Promotion.
Step 4: Selling.