Sales professionals are often passionate, inspired people. They love what they do, and they love sharing what they’ve learned with customers. Often, salespeople believe they can talk their way through any problem.
In some cases, however, the problem is talking – and it can be solved with active listening.
Can You Close More Deals if You’re Actively Listening?
What is Active Listening?
Active listening is the practice of being present in the moment in order to accept and digest another person’s message.
Unlike everyday listening, active listening is not something our brains do automatically. Active listening is a deliberate choice – the choice to set aside all the ideas and plans swirling around in our brains so we can focus all our attention on what someone else wishes to communicate to us.
Applying Active Listening to Sales
Active listening is a skill. Like all skills, it strengthens with practice. Every day you practice active listening at work, you improve your skills and improve your work.
Some simple ways to practice active listening in sales:
- Create space for your customer to talk more. Press “pause” on everything you want to say. Instead, start with some open-ended questions, like “How are things going?” Use short, simple follow-up questions like “What happened next?” to keep the floor open for your customer.
- Listen to understand. Most people listen to find a place they can jump in and talk. Active listeners listen to understand. Focus on what’s being said. Use statements like “As I understand it” or “What I think you’re saying is….” to reframe statements and seek clarification.
- Listen now, take notes later. Taking notes distracts you from listening. It also tells your customer that they aren’t really the center of your attention. Once you’ve really understood your customer, you can more easily distill the conversation to its essential points – making your notes easier to read, too.
Listening to Yourself: Taking Your Next Step in Sales
Listening actively to your customers is essential for building relationships and closing deals. To find the next step on your career path, the person who most needs you to listen is you.
Spend some time looking at your career to date. Make space to really listen to your core feelings and instincts. Which roles felt supportive? Which roles sounded good when you applied, but weren’t what you expected? If you could build a dream career in sales, what would it look like?
Are You Actively Listening?
Looking for your next career step in sales or marketing? The recruiters at SMR Group Ltd. can help. We connect job-seeking professionals to some of the best available opportunities in the biotech, medical device, and pharmaceutical industries. Contact us today to learn more.