Listening is a part of everyday life; amazingly few of us do a good job at it. The average person speaks between 160-200 words per minute, however our mind is capable of processing 4-5 times more information than that in the same length of time, making it very easy for us to begin thinking about other things. We live in a fast-paced world where often we are watching television, cooking dinner, checking our e-mail, and listening to the kids all at one time.
This fast pace makes it difficult to effectively listen to what a client is saying. People make the assumption that it is easy to listen, but it isn’t – listening requires constant concentration. If you are actively listening, people will be more likely to listen to what you have to say when it is your turn to talk, thus establishing rapport and, ultimately, increasing sales.
So, how do we as sales staff get better? First, know your product or service so well that you can listen intently rather than thinking about what you are going to say next. Try to wait at least three seconds before responding, this will demonstrate that you are listening and reflecting on what prospects have shared with you.
Second, concentrate on just listening. Don’t try to solve the problem before they have presented their issues. By focusing, you may surprise yourself and come up with solutions that you wouldn’t have if you had cut them short. In a sales situation, by cutting prospects’ time short you may be leaving money on the table by not discovering all their needs.