How to Supercharge Your Listening Skills on a Sales Call
Listening is a cognitive skill that any sales person needs to master. The inability to effectively listen to your clients may be reducing your sales.
Research shows that we remember about 25-50% of what we hear. With such low rates of remembrance, we need to find ways to improve our listening skills. In this article, we will discuss 5 methods in which you can supercharge your listening skills on a sales call:
1. Practice note taking
You can improve your active listening skills by taking notes during a phone conversation. Your notes need not be detailed- a few bullet points on a sticky note can suffice. Record the conversation as well.
After the conversation, play the recording and compare it with your notes. Evaluate whether what you heard was what the client was actually saying. Review your notes and keep practicing to improve your listening ability.
2. Repeat and clarify understanding
Simply nodding your head and saying “uh huh” does not show the client that you are effectively listening. Supercharge your listening skills by paraphrasing key sentences.
You may also ask follow up questions to show that you understood what the client was saying. For example, if your client said that they have a problem with their operating system, clarify your understanding by asking “You need your operating system fixed- is that correct?”.
3. Talk less
Reduce sales person talk time and increase client talk time. As sales people, we might be tempted to quickly share our information, forgetting that the client has a need. A sale is made where the line of demand meets the line of supply. If you are the one constantly speaking, the client will quickly feel as though their needs are not valued.
Another thing to take note of is to avoid interrupting your client. Allow your client to finish their train of thought before you have your say.
4. Allow moments of silence
Silence is golden at times, especially during a sales deal. A short silence during a phone conversation allows your clients some time to process their thoughts. Do not be afraid of silence over the phone. Research has shown that a person needs 8 seconds to process their thoughts and give you an answer; if you cut your client off at less than 8 seconds you run the risk of not making the deal.
5. Follow cues
Sometimes what we think we heard our client say over the phone is not exactly what they were trying to say. Listen to emotional cues such as tone, intonation, and stress. When you pick up that your client is in a hurry for example, you know to reschedule and end the call.
Active listening is an ability that is mastered when practiced regularly. Keep practicing these 5 steps to improve your listening skills and be more positioned to make a sale.