posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2009

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We have spent a good deal of time over the past couple of months talking about the struggling economy and how it is affecting both the field of sales; as well as, salespeople. We have also examined some tools and strategies a salesperson can use to make the best of a tough situation. Well today, I would like to touch on a skill that should always be a part of your toolbox but is probably even more important today.

That skill is the simplest one of all and requires no formal training. Listening! A professional salesperson always listens to their customers and what their wants and needs are. Once the salesperson has determined what the customers needs are, then it is up to the salesperson to go about best meeting the wants and needs. This is nothing new and I am not telling you something you probably do not already know.

The point I want to impress upon you today is that as important as it is to listen to your customers during "good" times it is even more important now. Of course, you continue to listen for the stuff you have always listened for but now it is important to go even farther.

Everyone is struggling with some aspect of the economy and everyone has a story so to speak. People today just want to know that someone cares and at some point, it is going to get better. As we know, customers on some level still need to make purchases and buy things to live in their everyday life. You, as a professional salesperson, can make that process easier. How you ask?

I have a friend who was laid off from his job like so many others and in order to find a new job, he really needed a new computer. However having just lost his job, it was not the best time to make a big purchase. He decided to take a shot, at least go, and speak to a computer salesperson and what he found restored some hope in him. I am not telling you that he got a free computer but I am telling you that the salesperson and the store listened to my friend and his situation. They talked with him and in the end came up with a plan that was satisfactory for both parties. Now my friend has the computer he needs and the salesperson has a new repeat customer. Listening and empathy are just as important as any "other sales" technique!

FINAO - Brad Huisken - IAS Training

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