Sales, you’re not listening. It’s recently become crystal clear to me that a really ugly pattern has managed to sneak it’s way in to most of your sales conversations. Recently is a little misleading. It’s been happening for a while silently killing your close rates and is indicative of broader sales trends. A good chunk of you salespeople, the people who have been known for years as masters of communication, seem to have lost the ability to listen. Not just listen to sell, but actually listening to learn.
Listening to Sell
I’m going to repeat that to make it abundantly clear, and this is directly to you salespeople, you’re not listening to learn. What’s happening is that, instead of tuning in and truly trying to understand what your prospect is telling you, you’re too caught up in listening to sell.
What do I mean by that? You’re hunting for the keywords or phrases or maybe more accurately waiting for the magic words to fall out of your prospects mouth. “I don’t use video”, “I use this [tech]”, etc.
Once you hear that, lights go off, a bell sounds, you’re just waiting for the opening to weasel your way in. You’ve barely scratched the surface of the conversation and you’re ready to pitch. This is a giant mistake – GIANT.
It’s weird. We’ve been talking about this “customer-first” philosophy for some time now. Yet, when we’re out there actually taking calls, we’re getting sidetracked, pushing the product into the spotlight, and preaching at the prospect. We’re so caught up in the ‘what’ that we miss the ‘who’ and the ‘why.’
If you’re trying to increase your sales, you need to do more than just scratch the surface. You need to know way more about your prospect than you ever thought you would.
Start diving into the nitty-gritty. Ask a lot of questions and listen. Now pause, reread what I just said. When I say “listen”, I mean really, truly, actively listening to what your prospect is saying. Soak up every little insight you can. Get inside their world, understand their approaches, methods, objectives, challenges, and problems.
Remember though, it’s not just about the data, you need to understand the context in which all of this is happening. It’s like peeling back the layers of an onion, the more you uncover, the better equipped you’ll be.
Stop Being an Order Taker
You’re not paid to be an order taker. We’re here to be an influencer. To do that, you need to listen to learn.