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The ART of listening

How important is listening in the sales process? How can we turn a generic sales pitch into a valuable conversation with our customers.

The answer lies in the ART of listening.

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The ART of listening

  1. 1. The ART of listening Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas
  2. 2. How important is to be a good listener? • Do you deal with uninterested prospects? • Do you lose your prospects interest during your sales pitch? • Do you have problems with customers because they had different expectations of your product? • Have you ever lost a sale because you offered something different than needed? We’ve all been there, and we all need to improve our listening skills Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas
  3. 3. How important is to be a good listener? • Modern buyers aren’t looking for sales people, they’re looking for SOLUTIONS • The only way to transform our products and services to solutions for our customers is to understand the problem, and the only way to understand the problema is to listen. • How do YOU feel when a salesman calls ypu and ONLY talks about their product? (Credit cards, phone companies, etc) • Adressing directly the customers needs generates empathy and trust. Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas
  4. 4. Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas How important is to be a good listener? According to research by about sales call content, the top performers are the ones that let their prospects talk more. In their analysis of more tan 25,000 sales calls, the 57%-43% ratio when the prospect talks more proved to be the best when closing deals.
  5. 5. Listening = Customer focus • “It’s not what you sell, it’s how you sell it” This doesn’t mean you can sell anything to anyone even if it doesn’t work or they dont need it, it means focusing your solutions features to your customers needs • There is a huge difference between what we can offer and what customers value, in the next figure where both brands give a generic sales pitch with all of their products features which one is most likely to win the Project? Product A Features Customer needs Product B Features What the customer sees VALUE VALUEIRRELEVANTVALUE IRRELEVANT
  6. 6. Listening = Customer focus • What if we, Supplier A, switch the conversation to only the features that will be interesting for our customer, have our chances of closing improved? Product A Features Customer needs Product B Features Regular sales pitch Customer focused conversation What the customer sees VALUE VALUEIRRELEVANTVALUE
  7. 7. The ART of Listening •Ask •Reaffirm •Take Notes Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas
  8. 8. Ask • Ask more customer focused questions, remember that we’re not selling products, we’re selling solutions, but solutions to what? • Asking does not mean turning your pitch into an interrogatory, turn it into a conversation. • Use conversational language: • My product -> Your needs • My solution is… -> Your problem is solved by… • I’ll focus on… -> Let’s direct our attention to… • I want to talk about… -> Let’s talk about… • I’ll explain how… -> We’ll understand how… Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas
  9. 9. • If you feel like you’re loosing your prospects attention or talking to much, use rhetorical questions to keep them engaged in conversation, do you agree? • The key question is: How can i help you become the hero? • The customers is always being measured, reduce downtime, minimize costs, increase productivity, we ask this to help them become the hero, their success is our success. Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas Ask
  10. 10. Reaffirm • It doesn’t mean just nodding and repeating the last thing the customer said, it’s actually making accute comments on their answer and follow up questions. • The best way to get a point through is a story, reaffirm that you understand their problem by telling them a story about how you solved that specific need before, about how you empathyze their situation as you’ve been there, use the stories to work in your solutions best features into the conversation. • But above all reaffirming is clearing all doubt and explaining in detail that you fully recognize their expectations, and be honest about how far can you fullfil them Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas
  11. 11. • Storytelling or sharing your experience through a Story, is the best way to make an impact on the customer • According to research 63% of people remember stories after a presentation, and only 5% remember actual facts • Data activates only two parts of the brain (language processing and comprehnsion), storytelling activates seven (language, sound, scents, colors, shapes, movement, touch) • It helps creating an emotional connection, and inspires people to take action. Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas Reaffirm
  12. 12. • “The cheapest ink lasts longer than the best memory” - Popular saying • Taking notes helps the brain retain information specifically key points about a conversation, mainly because when we wirte it down we actívate both hemisferes of the brain • In a study made in a psychology school, some students were told not to take notes while the rest of them did, surprisingly both groups remembered the same amount of information, never the less, the ones that took notes remebered the key points of the lecture while the ones that didn’t take notes only remebered random and scattered facts. • Techniques for taking notes: • Outlining • Mind-Mapping • Sistema Cornell Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas Take Notes
  13. 13. • You can go way beyond just writing down information by making visual diagrams about the problem AND the solution. • Visual thinking and presenting helps projecting ideas and facilitates understanding, specially when language or technical knowdlege is a problem. • During a sales call, whenever there are commitments made by either side of the conversation notes are crucial to make minutes or a MOU (Memo of understanding) to clarify responsibilities and mainly establish our solutions reach vs customer expectation. Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas Take Notes
  14. 14. EMPATHY ACKNOWDLEGEMENT WISDOM HONESTY The true salesman does not sell “ice in the north pole”, he sells taylor made coats, treat your customers as you want your suppliers to treat you If it can’t be measured it can´t be improved, the first step of any problem solving methodology is identify the problem, and we cannot do so by covering our eyes to our responsibility. Trust is as fragile as both partners honesty to each other, let’s do our part A master never stops learning. Sell with the knowdlege of an expert but the mindset of an apprentice. Elaborado por Ing. José Alberto Cárdenas