When you actively listen to a customer or prospect, you fully concentrate on what they are saying. This involves hearing with all of your senses and providing feedback on the message you receive. When you show you are paying complete attention, you increase your understanding of and rapport with your conversation partner. They are more likely to communicate openly and honestly about what they are thinking and how they feel about you and your products. You can discover what your customer or prospect likes and dislikes and what is important to them, then use this information to move forward in the sales process. The more often you close on sales, the greater your professional success.
Use these four tips to demonstrate active listening and boost your sales career.
1. Pay Attention
Give your customer or prospect your undivided attention. For instance, look directly at them. Also, pay attention to their body language. Additionally, avoid thinking about other topics or being distracted by the things in your environment. Plus, wait until your conversation partner is finished before considering what to say.
2. Monitor Your Body Language
Model appropriate body language to show you are engaged in the conversation. For instance, smile or use other facial expressions. Also, occasionally nod your head. Additionally, lean forward a bit. Plus, include small comments, such as “yes,” throughout the conversation.
3. Restate What You Hear
Summarize what you believe your customer or prospect is saying. For instance, “What I am hearing is…” or “It sounds like you are saying….” This shows you have a framework for understanding their situation and empathize with their struggle. It also should draw out more details that can help you more effectively tailor your pitch. Additionally, ask questions to ensure you are correctly interpreting the information. For instance, “What do you mean when you say…?” or “Is this what you mean?” If you misinterpret something, ask for further clarification.
4. Respond Appropriately
Use the information you gained to create an appropriate response. For instance, be candid, open, and honest with your words. Also, show that you understand your customer’s or prospect’s needs and concerns. Additionally, provide more information to address any questions or objections that come up. Plus, ask open-ended questions to uncover additional information about your customer’s or prospect’s goals, challenges, and plans. Use what you learn to lead them down the path to see how your product can solve their problems. Continue to move to the next step in your sales funnel.
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