Active listening is a crucial sales skill that so many salespeople overlook. The truth is, if you aren’t actively listening, you are holding yourself back from building real trust and commitment with your prospects.
Shut Up and Listen
During sales conversations, salespeople tend to do the talking. And even when we’re listening, we’re really just waiting for our next turn to talk.
Early on in my sales career, this was true for me, too. To be honest, I started out in sales pretty self-absorbed. It was incredibly challenging for me to shut up and listen, and most of my conversations with prospects were something along the lines of:
Let me tell you how I can help you.
Let me tell you about my services.
And let me tell you how great I am.
Asking Questions Builds Trust
Instead of getting to know more about my prospect and their problems, I directed sales conversations by telling my prospect about myself and my services. This only drove those prospects away, because I never made the effort to build trust and commitment within that relationship.
Why would someone want to trust you with their problems if they don’t even get an opportunity to tell you what those problems are and how they’re being affected by them?
Active listening (not just patiently waiting for them to finish so you can say something “important”) is a critical sales skill. Asking informed questions is what builds trust and commitment between you and your prospect.
Here Are 3 Tips For Improving Your Active Listening Skills
Take the focus off yourself.
Forget how much money you might make working with this person. Forget about your last phone call. Forget the chaos in the world. Active listening during sales conversations and making your prospect the most important person in the world for a short time might be worth more than you could ever imagine.
Shut off distractions.
When conducting a sales call, it’s obvious we should turn off all alerts. But let’s be honest: my AppleWatch goes off during calls sometimes. The key is to ignore the distractions and stay focused on the prospect as they explain their situation. You might try using the Do Not Disturb or silencing/mute features on your devices throughout the duration of your call.
You cannot actually think about two things at once. As per the suggestion above, distractions only pull you away from the sales conversation. Active listening involves writing down what your prospect says not only keeps you focused, it also gives you invaluable information for your reference later. It’s easy to forget what someone said over the phone or over Zoom. If it’s written down, even just keywords, you’ll be able to enter better notes in your CRM. And don’t forget to schedule a time block to do this!
If you truly allow the prospect to tell you what their problems are, you can best assess if and how you can help. Then, set the next steps to help solve whatever problem is standing between them and their goals.
The Improvised Sales Intelligence™️ Book of Play gives you the tools, tactics, and techniques to become a more effective and agile communicator in spontaneous sales conversations. Download the FREE eBook!
About the author
Rachel Pitts is a Master Sales Coach who brings her experience as a realtor, mortgage…