Listen Up!

posted: Friday, April 2, 2010

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Somebody asked me recently what single selling skill do I think is the most important for a salesperson to possess. Head and shoulders above any other skill would be the ability to LISTEN. Customers, or potential customers, will tell you everything that you need to know in order to close the deal, add-on, and develop a relationship, if you can simply ask the right questions and listen to their answers. Far too often salespeople sell based on the reasons they want to sell and not the reasons the customers want to buy. In addition, far too often customers reveal valuable personal information, and yet the salesperson ignores it, or flat out doesn't hear it.

When a customer comes into a jewelry store for example and says, "I am looking for a engagement ring." The salesperson will respond our bridal section is right over there. When the salesperson should be talking about the wedding, how they got engaged, where they are going on their honeymoon, something of a more personal nature. A customer says, "We have family coming in for the holidays and we need a new mattress for our spare bedroom." Far too often the salesperson will demonstrate how the mattress has terrific back support. When in reality the customer may be focused more on price than back support. Another example, a customer comes into a music store and says "I just joined a new band and am looking for a new guitar." A typical sales clerk would say what kind of guitar? A sales professional, who is listening, will say, "Tell me about the new band."

The difference between success and failure comes down to the salesperson's ability to listen and really focus in on the customer from both a business and a personal, emotionally based level. Sell based on the reason(s) the customer wants to buy, focus on the emotional reason behind the purchase, share in the excitement of the emotional reason, and sales will become much easier.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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