Unlock Sales Success through Active Listening
By Jeff Shore
Stephen Covey once wrote that most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
In the realm of sales, truly understanding the customer’s perspective is often overlooked in favor of formulating quick responses. However, to excel in sales, it is essential to break away from this tendency and embrace the role of a sales counselor.
By using active listening and retelling the customer’s story, we can establish a profound connection, delivering exceptional results, and unlock sales success.
So, let’s explore the power of active listening, the significance of retelling the customer’s story, and how these practices can transform sales conversations.
Listening to Understand
In the world of sales, it’s all too common for salespeople to spend their time formulating responses instead of genuinely seeking to understand the customer. However, to respond effectively, we must first listen with the intent to understand. By prioritizing understanding over response, we demonstrate our commitment to the customer’s needs and build trust in the process.
Retelling the Customer’s Story
One effective method to ensure our customers feel understood is to repeat back what we’ve heard and retell their story. This technique allows us to confirm our comprehension of their concerns, desires, and challenges. Think of it as becoming a sales counselor, aiming to fully grasp and empathize with the customer’s perspective. By saying, “What I hear you saying is…” we show our customers that we are actively engaged and attentive to their needs.
The Importance of Being Understood
Being understood is a fundamental human desire, and it holds particular significance in sales interactions. Whether it’s with a teenager, an accountant, a physician, or a sales professional, we all crave the assurance that others truly comprehend our situation. By acknowledging and understanding our customers’ stories, we enhance their trust in us and create a foundation for meaningful collaboration.
Confirmation and Elaboration
When we retell the customer’s story, we not only display our understanding but also invite confirmation from the customer. This confirmation helps us ensure that we have captured the essence of their message accurately. It also opens the door for the customer to elaborate further on any aspects we may have missed or to provide additional context. By actively seeking confirmation, we demonstrate our commitment to getting the full story and resolving their needs effectively.
Applying Storytelling in Sales
Retelling the customer’s story is a valuable technique not only during the discovery process but also in overcoming objections. Regardless of the objection’s nature, every response should begin with the words, “Tell me more about that.” This prompts the customer to expand on their concerns, allowing us to deepen our understanding before addressing the objection. By employing this method, we shift the focus from a defensive stance to a more collaborative and empathetic approach.
Becoming a Sales Counselor
To connect with customers on a deep level, we must embrace the role of a sales counselor. By actively listening, retelling their story, and seeking confirmation, we establish trust, empathy, and understanding. When we operate as counselors, we provide the best service possible and foster long-term relationships with our customers.
In the fast-paced world of sales, listening to understand and retelling the customer’s story are indispensable skills. By practicing active listening and utilizing storytelling techniques, we can establish deeper connections with our customers, gain a comprehensive understanding of their needs, and provide tailored solutions. So, let’s prioritize understanding over response, and in doing so, let’s become sales counselors who empower and truly serve our customers.