(Blog #8 in the ongoing series derived from a book Harris DeWese wrote several years ago—“A Year of Selling Profitably.” The book was written for printers to use as a guide in training their sales teams through a series of two-hour sessions over 48 weeks.)
Ask yourself to list your positive and negative listening habits. What do you do that might turn off a buyer? What do you do that consistently impresses buyers?
Didn’t get an objective report? Too many positive observations vs. negative? It’s hard to be honest with yourself about yourself.
Track down your significant other. Ask him/her to make a list.
Now, if your dear mother is available, ask her to make a list of your strengths and weaknesses.
Next, ask your best friend (if you have one), then your priest, rabbi or preacher (if you have one).
Ask your boss and some co-workers. If you have any customers who seem to like you, ask them for a list.
Finally, if you have some customers who don’t seem to like you, ask them.
All any of these folks can do is to turn you down. Whatever feedback you get will be helpful and I can guarandamnty you that this list experience will make you PERMANENTLY mindful of your need to be a good listener.
Your attentiveness will become your trademark. People will say, “I like to talk to Marge because she listens to what I say.” When that happens, you may be as good of a salesperson as Kitty St. Sauveur up in Boston or Dave van Dusenin Philadelphia. They are both heavy hitters burdened with tricky last names, but their customers love them ’cause they listen real good. Exercise 3 (30 MINUTES)
What if you are an active listener, but the buyer is not?
That’s where flexibility and fit come in. Flexibility and fit refer to matching or fitting your style of communication to another person’s to improve the accurate exchange of information.
It is always the salesperson’s responsibility to adjust to the buyer’s communication style. To do that effectively, you need to understand the primary ways people absorb information:Visual Learners
prefer to have information presented to them as charts, graphics, memos, e-mail, fax or videos—things they can look at repeatedly over time. With these people, it helps to describe subjects in visual terms, such as “I can see that.” or “What a bright idea.”Auditory Learners
prefer to have information presented in conversations, discussions, voice messages, audio tapes or phone calls. This type of person may listen better when the speaker uses auditory terminology, such as “That sounds great to me.” or “I can hear what you’re saying.”
In addition to visual and auditory ways of taking in information, communication is also affected by the way people think.
Some people pay considerable attention to detail; prefer to focus on a single task at a time and perform the task step by step; and are well organized.
Others pay attention to the bigger picture; focus on several tasks at once and perform them in a multi-task fashion; and complete tasks at varying intervals. Although these people can sometimes appear scatter brained, they often are not, so don’t underestimate them.Exercise 4 (40 MINUTES)
Write down your clients’ names. Next to each name, list that client’s listening and thinking characteristics.
Describe your clients’ and prospects’ listening and thinking characteristics. Now ask yourself how you might tailor your next presentation to take advantage of these traits.
I’m beginning to bore myself just listening to myself write this blog. I’m going to take a nap while you get out there and sell something.
A Year of Selling Profitably By Harris M. DeWese with Jerry Bray
Employ techniques and tools that turn weekly sales meetings into energetic learning experiences, resulting in a more enthusiastic, more motivated, and more effective sales force. Understand how these techniques and tools required to build successful marketing, sales and, ultimately, profits, will help you achieve “A Year of Selling Profitably.” Click to order a copy.