Increase Sales By Improving Face-To-Face Listening Skills
The 3 Part Series on Listening
Part 1: Face-to-Face Listening Skills
Part 2: Phone Listening Skills
Part 3: Internet Listening Skills
Some people have asked me how I have become a global business leader? How I was to able to dominate the Latin Speaking Market in addition to the English speaking market. Yes, being bi-lingual has helped speak to both markets, but the truth has more to do with listening in both languages and not as much to do with speaking. I can’t tell you how many times I heard people say “GOD gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.” This statement may be overused but LISTEN UP, it’s the truth.
Another famous quote I have learned to live by is from St. Francis,
“It is better to understand than to be understood.”
Listening to understand your “prospective customer, stakeholder or investor” will not only increase your percentage on “closing deals,” it will also increase the quality of the business relationships you have. Below are quick tips that will help you become a better listener:
Tip #1 Ask Questions and Take Note of the Answers. Sound easy? Video tape yourself in a real face to sales situation. You may be unpleasantly surprised with the grade you give yourself. Your future client MUST feel you are asking questions that will help you understand THEIR needs. It is vital they believe you are listening and comprehending the answers to your questions and you are not just following some script or methodology. If people believe you are following a script, then they will think you are manipulating their answers to prove they need you, or your products / services. Be sure to ask follow-up questions based upon the notes your have taken. You can do this by briefly summarizing their answers, then asking a defining question on what their needs are. It’s okay to document how you can help them with your product or service, but relay that in the initial question and answer part of your meeting. Your number one objective in this phase is to “LISTEN” and “COMPREHEND” your future client. If you do this correctly you have built a foundation of trust and people will be willing to give you your undivided attention.
Tip #2 Eye Contact – Eye contact lets people know you respect what they are saying. It’s not good enough to make eye contact just when you a speaking to them, it’s just as important to make eye when they are speaking. It shows that you are ENGAGED in their conversation, in their thoughts, in their beliefs. Eye contact will also help you understand people’s personality in addition helping you notice non-verbal cues that will help you understand what the other person is thinking, not just what they are saying. The more you understand people’s personality, the more you can tailor your message. When someone is talking and their eyes light up on a certain topic, like wanting to spend more time with their kids; now you know “one of their core values” is their family. Another example is when they start talking to you about time and you see they start looking “down or sad”, this is because they want to find free up more time. These are just two of the many examples how can improve your listening skills and your sales by making eye contact.
Tip #3 DON’T INTERRUPT – Don’t finish people’s sentences or make gestures that you want them to stop talking because you have something, you think is more important to say. RELAX, allow for them to pause for a moment to hear themselves talk. You do not win awards or sales by talking more than your future client. Passion is important, but interrupting sends a negative message that “what they are saying is not important as what you are saying”.
When you finish people’s sentences, you are stopping their flow of communication. There is power in them hearing what they are saying. Let them talk and show them they are the most important person in the room. And of course, silence any other phone or pager you may have when speaking to people.
One may think this blog is for beginners and not for the seasoned sales person. I will argue with the best of them after I listen to their reasons, J. What I have found in all my years in business that the most seasoned sales people may not be the most seasoned listeners. Think about how much more business that “seasoned sales guru” will produce if they started to implement better listening skills to there already proven system. The sky is the limit.
As a coach who engages people in every aspect of their careers, I have realized “listening skills” always need improvement and will increase Profits, Productivity and more satisfied customers. It’s also one of the hardest concepts to implement and usually one needs a good coach to assist in correcting bad communication habits and refining each individual to reach the peak of their success by having excellent communication skills.
Elena Fraga’s 3 Part Blog on Listening