In my 35 years of experience as a sales trainer, the biggest challenge for salespeople is developing great listening skills.
We have all met salespeople who can’t listen. It’s like they just can’t do it. During a sales presentation, they just keep talking, and never take the time to listen to what their prospect is telling them.
But why is listening such a powerful selling tool? For one, listening allows you to get the valuable information you need to sell. Second, listening shows your prospect you care about them more than yourself. And most importantly, listening makes you look less like a salesperson. You’re asking questions and listening to see if you can help your prospect, rather than trying to shove your gym down their throat.
When you see a top-performing salesperson sell, you notice the prospect is doing most of the talking and the salesperson is doing very little talking. This is because the sales superstar wants as much information as possible before they present the prospect with the right solution. And they get this information by listening intently to every word the prospect says. They ask questions, then shut up and listen.
The good news is if you can learn how to professionally ask questions, then shut up and listen, you will find selling a thousand times easier. And when I say learn, I mean learn how to listen, practice how to listen, and role play how to listen.
Also, during sales presentations, force yourself to be fully conscious of how you are listening. Are you looking into your prospect’s eyes and actively listening, or are you just rushing to get to the next stage of the sale and praying for a close?
When your prospect walks into your club, they are probably thinking, “I need to lose weight, I need to lose 30 pounds, I want to be fitter, I have high blood pressure, my wife has left me, I’m very nervous about going to the gym, I will feel out of place.” Wouldn’t it be a thousand times easier to sell if these goals, objectives and concerns were fully verbalized before you start ranting about your great club?
As David Sandler said, “When the prospect is listening, you’re not selling.”