In sales, the power to persuade is everything. But if you’re struggling to influence potential clients it may be because you need to improve one important skill: listening. It may seem counterintuitive that in order to persuade, you should listen more, but think about it - no one has ever listened themselves out of a sale, but people have talked themselves out of a sale.
So how can you become a more effective listener and increase your ability to persuade?
Here are five techniques:
1. Focus on the speaker.
Actively listen. Don’t think about your own agenda or issues, or what you want to say
next. Instead, give the person who is speaking your full attention.
While the other person is speaking, do not interrupt. If this is something you struggle
with, they counting to three after the speaker finishes talking before you respond. The
more you practice this, the easier it will be to wait your turn.
3. Withhold judgement.
It’s human nature to assign judgement, but keeping an open mind not only builds trust,
but encourages people to open up and share. Listen first, then evaluate.
4. Ask questions.
Asking questions builds a two-way dialogue. It also gives you an opportunity to identify
your clients’ needs and values. Something as simple as, “What do you hope to get out
of this meeting today?” can make a huge difference on the outcome of the meeting.
5. Demonstrate understanding
Acknowledging what the speaker has said shows that you have been listening and understand their needs. A great way to do this is by restating points they made earlier in the conversation. You can do this by phrasing it like “So I heard you say ……. Is important to you.”
Active listening takes work, but when you put in the work, you see the results. Listening not only builds trust within the speaker it also allows you to craft persuasive messaging that targets each individual client.