Stop Talking – Start Listening

posted: Friday, June 7, 2013

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One of the things I notice when running my errands and encounter salespeople is that they don't listen to the customer nearly enough. It is true that a salesperson is the expert in whatever they are selling, but the customer is always the expert when it comes to what they want or need.

I was with a friend as he was shopping for a new washer and dryer, and he knew exactly what he wanted. He also knew exactly what would fit into his one bedroom apartment. He needed something that would fit into a small space, so he wanted a stacked washer and dryer. My friend who leaves alone also does not need one of those new washers that are designed to wash massive loads. If he does more than two loads a week, it's an oddity.

So as he is talking to the salesperson and telling him everything I just told you, the salesperson is refusing to listen. He keeps trying to show my friend the latest in the big family washer and dryers. My friend, again, tries to explain that number one, he does not have the room for something that big and number two, he doesn't need something that big.

The salesperson is just not going to listen and keeps reverting back to the big set. We eventually told the salesperson that we were just going to look around for a bit, and we would get back to him. After that salesperson left, my friend found another one, told him what he was looking for and the sale was complete within 20 minutes. All the second salesperson did differently was listen, that's it; and because he did, he got the sale.

Every salesperson has a presentation and certain things that they like to demonstrate to their customers, but more times than not, the customer knows what they want. The first salesperson lost a sure thing just because he refused to listen to the customer; the second salesperson picked up the easiest sale of his life because all he did was listen. It's not complicated.

As a salesperson, you can help your customers in a lot of ways, but don't get so caught up in what you are going to say that you forget to listen. Most customers will tell you what they want if you let them.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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