Communication is one of the most important aspects of any relationship, including business relationships. Just like in any significant relationship, one has to know when to speak and when to listen. Most relational woes are the products of poor communications.
In this article, we will talk about the importance of listening actively in a sales meeting so that you get the most out of it.
Why doing all the talking doesn’t work
One of the fundamental things about learning is it is easier to acquire knowledge when you listen intently. Let’s say you’re undergoing training on how to become a bail expert or an IT technician. Both roles are quite technical in nature, and if a person fails to listen to gain a better understanding of the topics being discussed, the chances of that person succeeding in those fields are slim.
The same thing can be said about sales. In most cases, salespeople find it very tempting to dominate the conversation so they can — for lack of a better term — manipulate the discussion in their favor. While it seems acceptable given their profession (most folks have this misconception about salespeople), talking too much in a sales meeting can result in a potential client walking away from you and passing up on your offer.
One of the things that people in sales should understand is that sales meetings are perfect opportunities for them to find out what their potential client’s concerns are and help them develop solutions for it using their products. It is not just about talking non-stop about the product’s bells and whistles, trying to make the hard sell on someone. Sales meetings should be customer-centric, meaning everything should be about meeting their needs.
Minimizing the talk time and increasing the listening time will help sales agents better understand where the clients and customers are coming from, their frustrations, and what they have already tried to do to unsuccessfully address their problems. These types of information can only be acquired through active listening.
Why active listening increases the chances of closing a sale
When a sales agent knows what the customer’s real concerns are, it is easier for them to close the sale. Here’s why:
It builds rapport between you and your client
In a sales meeting, an agent is trying to establish a good relationship with a client. A client finds it easier to open up to a person who knows how to listen intently. An agent with good listening skills can easily gather significant data and information that can help them address any customer concern.
It helps you steer clear of miscommunication and misunderstanding
Active listening also helps avoid any misunderstanding or miscommunication in a conversation. Salespeople who pay close attention to what a person says verbally and non-verbally are better positioned to come up with the best answers to address customer concerns.
It establishes trust between parties
Lastly, most customers are wary of salespeople who will sweet-talk their way into closing a sale. Listening to what they have to say communicates sincerity that you want to help them with their problem. When they see that the desire to help is genuine, it is easier for them to let their guards down.
How does one incorporate active listening in a sales process?
Unfortunately, not all salespeople see the value that listening brings to their profession. For those who truly want to make a difference in their customer’s lives, it’s never too late to build the good habit of listening actively to people.
Take your time, and don’t rush the conversation.
Nothing turns off a person more than a salesperson who hastily goes through a presentation. This sends a message that they are only going off with a memorized script and are in a rush to make the sale.
Allow your client to talk and never interrupt
Show interest in what your client has to say.
Paraphrase to express understanding and avoid confusion
Sales agents should ensure that they fully understand what their prospects are talking about. A simple way of finding out if they’re on the same page is by repeating or paraphrasing what the other person said. Another way to avoid misunderstanding is by simply asking questions for clarification.
Look for non-verbal cues
It is found that at least 70% of communication is non-verbal. Learn how to read a person’s body language.
People who know when to speak and when not to speak will always have the upper hand relationally. This goes for both business and personal matters. The skill of active listening will serve a lot of people well in life.