The days of the smooth taking salesperson are gone. Customers are smarter, wiser and more prepared than ever before. Most have done some internet research prior to buying, Today's salesperson must have product or service expertise. However, as important as product and service knowledge is, it is simply not enough. Successful salespeople today must be good listeners.
Good listeners will understand what a potential customer is really seeking. They understand the nuances, the details, the concerns, the fears, the excitement prior to presenting their solutions. They develop sincere relationships which are as important as closing. We have found that when salespeople and consultants really listen, customers, more often than not, want to do business with that person.
Listening is not easy. We all think we're good listeners. Most of us tend to react and assume instead of trying to fully understand the customer's needs. desires, concerns and motives for buying. The good thing is that listening can be learned and improved. Simple techniques will greatly help.
First, concentrate on the customer, not on you and what you wish to offer. Play back and probe often. Occasionally rephrase your customer's message and interests and ask questions to go deeper. Talk less and listen more. We recommend that the customer speak at least 60% of the time. Our golden rule is, don't make a proposal unless your confident that you understand your customer's needs.