Why Listening is More Important than Speaking in Sales

Man with listening coneMost people think “selling” is the same as “talking”. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job. – Roy Bartell

Listening and speaking are two of the most critical skills for a great salesperson. Consider a time when you were excited or “sold” on a product, service, or idea.

How well did the person listen to your needs?
What did the person say?
How did it make you feel?

Now consider the opposite situation. We’ve all been victims of the “hard sell” before. One of the toughest aspects of those experiences is the salesperson doesn’t particularly listen to your needs, say what you need to hear, or make you feel comfortable.

Empowering Your Sales Team

Want to empower your sales team? Make taking care of customers a key performance indicator. Zappos, an online retailer, has been widely recognized for their customer service. The company’s senior marketing manager, Michelle Thomas, has this to say about their service model:

The one constant is that we are a service company that happens to sell __________ (fill in the blank). Our biggest efforts revolve around building likeability around our brand so that consumers turn to a brand that they trust, find reliable, and have an emotional connection with. (Source)

That’s a powerful way to help your team shift their thinking (and the words they use). We are a service company that happens to sell a product/service. With that concept in mind, employees will speak, act, and react differently in customer interactions than those who only want to have a transactional selling relationship.

It’s About the Relationship

Let’s revisit one of the points above. Selling, for those who do it well, is largely about how you make the other person feel. People do business with people they like, plain and simple.

If you’re more likeable and personable, you are more likely to make the sale than if you are not. We’d like to think that something as simple as likeability is not a major impact on the selling process, but think back to the earlier example.

When you had a great sales experience, did the other person make you feel comfortable, important, and valued? How would the interaction have changed if you had felt uncomfortable, unimportant, or unappreciated?

Want a successful sales team? Revisit these two core areas often. Beating the competition is often about serving the customer better and being more likeable, and your team can start today.

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