Why Ask, When You Don’t Listen??

This reminds me of a story about a passionate sales woman who was trying to enlist a friend in her home business scheme. Sitting on a bench at the park while their children played, the sales woman turned to her friend and said, “I’ve got a great opportunity to share with you that I think you’ll really like.”

“Wonderful,” said her friend. “What is it?”

“How would you like to make some extra cash while staying home with the kids?”

“Well, I would like to get out more often and see adults,” said her friend.

“Let me tell you about this fabulous work-from-home opportunity,” said the sales woman, who explained to her friend the advantages of working from home, such as setting her own schedule, still being home with her kids each and every day, and earning some extra money on the side.

“So what do you think? Can I count you in?” asked the sales woman.

“No thanks.”

“But why not? It’s the perfect work-from-home job.”

“I’d rather get out of the house and see more adults,” said her friend.


Are you guilty of pretending to be interested in what your customers’ and prospects’ needs are, all the while planning on how to sell them based on your own perceptions of what’s great about your product?



By actively listening, really hearing what your clients are saying and also not saying, you can delve deep and get at their core emotions. Once you tap into someone’s core emotions, you can paint them a vivid picture of what their lives will be like after buying or using your service or product.


The following tips can help you be a more active listener:


1. Wait until your prospect tells you what you need to say to sell them your product. In the story at the beginning of this post, the sales woman didn’t hear her friend’s need to get out and connect with other adults, so she tried to sell her on what she thought were the best benefits of her work-from-home scheme. When you really converse with a prospect or customer, they will eventually tell you exactly what you need to say to position your product as the perfect solution. Sometimes you need to separate the wheat from the chaff to find the perfect words. But you will if you actively listen.


2. Leave your agenda behind. When you go into a sales presentation or a meeting with sales quotas, commissions, and numbers in your mind, you won’t truly focus on what’s best for your client. Try to remember that this sales event is not about you. It’s about finding the right solution that will make your client’s life easier, happier, more wealthy, more physically fit, whatever your client’s deepest desires are that you can fulfill. Zig Ziglar said it perfectly, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”


3. Recap your understanding. The best way to make sure you understand what’s most important to your client is to recap what you think are the key essential pieces underlying their needs, wants, desires, fears, whatever their core emotions might be. Take notes if you need to, but really focus on what your client is trying to tell you. They’ll be impressed after you’ve recapped, or you’ll find you need to ask more quality questions to clarify.


4. Try the 80/20 rule. You’ve heard of the 80/20 rule by now, I’m sure. Well try listening to your client or prospect for 80 percent of the time and talking only 20 percent of the time. Learn how to ask specific, relevant, open-ended questions that require some depth to answer. You can practice this formula with anyone. The next time a co-worker pops his or her head into your cube or office to chat, try to get them to talk to you for 8 minutes while you talk only 2 minutes of that time, most of that asking questions. Then at the end of 10 minutes, ask them how they felt after the chat. Hopefully, they’ll say they felt “really heard.” British soldier Robert Baden-Powel said, “If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.”


If you find yourself talking more than your prospect or client and can’t seem to stop, try coaching or training to smooth out your bumpy spots. Sometimes nervousness, impatience, and poor presentation skills get in the way, too. This is all easily handled with a little help from an expert.


Here at Natural Training, we have a team of experts who can help you match your natural sales style with some tips and techniques to have you at your best in sales meetings, negotiations, and presentations. Call one of our Consultants on 020 7613 780 and we can find the right programme for your needs.

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