The best salespeople listen a lot more than they talk. Aim to listen with the intent of learning. Don’t just wait for a key word so you can present your arguments to force a sale. If you actively listen, the prospect will tell you all you need to know:
- What challenges they are having,
- The solutions they have tried,
- The outcome (positive and negative),
- The service they are getting now, and
- Whether or not they could benefit from doing business with you.
Note: Not everybody wants or needs what you are selling. If you convince them they do and they are unhappy about it in the future, it will be bad for business.
If you and your prospect come to the conclusion that there is no need for your service and you tell them that, you have successfully applied the key skill of honesty, with all its associated benefits.
To be really great at active listening, you have to be curious and brave enough to find out if your prospect is a good fit or not. To do this you simply need to ask good questions that get the prospects talking about themselves.
TIP: active listening means asking open questions. Open questions cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no”.
The following are examples of active listening, and they all contain the words “Who, What, Where, When, Why, or How”:
- When you think about your home, is there anything you’d like to improve?
- What do you like the most about your neighborhood?
- If you could modernize the paint in your home, where would you start?
- How important is electrical safety to you?
- What do you think is the most important part about a successful landscape renovation?
Then listen to the answers, and follow-up with questions such as “Why’s that?” or “Why have you not fixed this already?” or “What is stopping you from getting that for your home?” to truly understand the solution your prospect or customer needs.
- Ease: Doable
- Cost: $100+
- Scope: Medium
- Speed: Normal
- Reach: City