Shut Up and Listen

Your mother tried to teach you that interrupting is rude, but that doesn’t stop you from butting in with the answers when your prospect is talking. After all, you know what he’s going to say, and you think you already know the answer to his problem.

But even “helpful” interruptions can be perceived as rude. Cutting off your prospect may make him believe you’re not really listening, or that you’re just trying to sell him a generic solution and don’t genuinely care about his specific needs. And the truth is, if you let him keep talking he may reveal a need that you hadn’t thought of—one for which you have a profitable solution.

So how do you break the bad habit of interrupting? Sales trainer Mike Brooks offers this advice: “Use your mute button. By simply pushing mute when you ask a question or when your prospect starts talking, you are not only forced to allow your prospect to keep talking”: With the phone muted, even if you try to cut him off, he won’t hear you and won’t be offended by the interruption.

“Once you hit mute, leave it on for a couple of seconds even if you think they are done talking,” Brooks says. “You will be amazed by how much more information your prospect will provide you if you just shut up and listen.”

Here are two more ways you can become a better listener:

Begin listening for and writing down any unique phrases or words your prospects use. While about 80-90 percent of what people say is the same, if you really listen you’ll find that everyone has a unique word, phrase or way of saying something. For example, many companies have different terms for a sales rep. Some call them sales executives, some call them account managers, some sales reps, etc. Listening for and writing down these unique phrases will train you to pay more attention. To be even more effective, make sure and use these phrases when speaking with your prospect during this call and during the closing call as well. Doing this is what is known as mirroring your prospect and it is a proven and effective way to build rapport and make your prospect feel heard.

Record yourself. Recording and listening to your conversations – both sides – is the fastest, most efficient way of improving your listening skills (and sales skills, closing skills, etc.). The bottom line is that when you’re on the phone you’re usually so preoccupied with your prospect that you don’t have any idea what you actually sound like (or how well you listen). Recording your calls and then listening to them in the quiet and safety of your conference room or car allows you the chance to really listen to yourself. In the beginning, this can be a painful and embarrassing exercise, but, again, it is the most powerful way to improve. The point is – you can’t improve something you’re not aware of, and by listening to your recordings, you’re going to become immediately aware of how you’re doing – and what you want to change. Recording yourself also allows you to measure your improvement as well, and this kind of reinforcement is a powerful way to make and maintain positive changes.

Source: Mike Brooks

 

 

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