Quit Talking and Listen! Give Clients and Prospects Your Undivided Attention
I have found that the best sales people are the best listeners, not the ones that talk your ear off. Listening is a skill that much more than just hearing the words coming out of their mouth. Here are some tips that you can use to see how well you actually listen.
Maintain eye contact
This is more than just starring at them to appear to be interested. It also helps you concentrate on what they have to say.
Ask relevant questions
Don't assume that you understand where they are coming from. Be sure to ask a follow up question and rephrase or restate what they have said. This not only keeps you in the conversation but it also lets them know you truly understand what they said.
Unless you have a photographic memory, carry a pad and pen with you wherever you go. Make sure don't spend the entire conversation looking down at your notes. It's important to write and look them in the eye at the same time it will give them a sense of importance and help break down the barriers between you. Create a short hand if you need to.
Multitasking is a No, No
In the back of your mind you may think you are saving time but you are making them feel neglected and their confidence in you will be shot. Taking the time to stop what you are doing will pay bigger dividends in the long run to pay attention in the short run.
Are you really listening to them?
Resist the urge to talk about yourself. This is your opportunity to stand out from everyone else and learn what it is that your clients/prospects really want. Take the opportunity to learn about their family, hobbies, favorite sports teams etc. This bonding time will make a big difference if it is between you and someone else.
A final tip is to ask someone close to you to rate your listening skills. Listen carefully to what they say - you might be surprised at what you hear!