Now that we’re once again getting open for business, this raises the question of what we’ll be talking about with customers. Millions of Americans remain unemployed, more are still on furlough, while others are underemployed. Countless businesses are on the brink and others are going over the edge. Too many families will remain in the grasp of financial hardship for months, some for years.
And then there’s coping with upended lives, dashed dreams, sleepless nights, endless worries, mind-boggling stress, as well as the painful aftereffects of social isolation. In such circumstances, who would dare minimize, let alone turn a blind eye, to the realities of life for so many?
If this picture is even close to accurate of where we find ourselves today, then talking with people can be a helpful task, one that deserves to be near the top of the list of our priorities. What’s needed isn’t difficult to accomplish. It’s simply giving people an opportunity to talk about what’s important to them, to share their thoughts, feelings, and, yes, their fears. We may be resilient, but all of us can benefit from support and understanding.
(Related: The Only Message Customers Want From You)
Even though being helpful is rather simple, not many of us find it easy to speak about much other than sports, the weather, or the boss’s limitations. This is where professional salespeople can come into the picture to play a role. Unfortunately, as it turns out, those in sales, are both an undervalued and underused business resource.
When it comes to connecting with people, few others are better prepared than are salespeople for engaging others in helpful and sympathetic conversations. Before rolling your eyes and passing this off as another crazy idea, consider the following:
Except for those in sales, there are few among us who are trained and skilled listeners, who know how to put others at ease. This is how they earn their living.
1. Salespeople know how easy it is to turn off customers by talking themselves right out of a sale.
2. They are astute at asking questions that give customers permission to express themselves.
3. Although they can be accused of being overly zealous and pushy, experience has taught those in sales the value of patience.