When you interact with clients, they should be doing 70% of the talking, which means you're doing 70% of the listening. Listening is crucial for effective sales-it's the only way you'll learn what your prospect or client REALLY needs.
Follow these tips for effective listening:
Prepare in advance: Focus on the buyer, and give him or her the best listening-to they've ever had.
Take notes: Taking notes shows your interest in the buyer's message, helps you stay in control of the call, and provides valuable data to review later or share with your sales team.
Screen out distractions: Imagine you and the buyer are in a tunnel alone and all you can hear is each other. Think only of the message.
Limit your talking: You can't listen and speak at the same time.
Listen for content: Listen to the words. Don't respond to your stereotype of, or past history with, the buyer. Stop judging the style of delivery.
Prove that you listened: Once you believe the buyer has said everything, paraphrase what you heard. It confirms that what you are about to say responds to what the buyer really said.
Excerpted from the book Close the Deal, © 1999 by Sam Deep, Lyle Sussman and Sandler Systems, Inc. For more information on Sandler Sales Institute, contact Al Simon at http://www.simonsayssell.net