Written by Sean McPheat |
The quality of your questioning and listening skills can have a profound effect on your professional success in sales. Ask most prospects what skills they most admire in their suppliers’ representatives, and you can rest assured that ‘listening to our needs and wants’ will be high up their list.
But why is listening such a valued skill? And what are the benefits of active listening in the collaborative relationship? Here are some reasons why you should hold this key communication skill in high esteem:
Top quality listeners make their prospects feel cared for and special
Questions show that you care, and listening adds to that impression. It shows your deep respect for the other person’s opinion and helps you understand their reasoning behind their statements.
The fifth of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People revolves around ‘listening to understand before making yourself understood’. When your clients are made to feel special, they are more likely to open up to you, confide in you and trust you. Remember; no-one ever lost a deal by listening too much!
Top quality listening reduces the chances of mistakes
How many times have you finished a conversation then realised there were several points you weren’t that clear on? Or even some points that you thought you understood, but afterwards leave you puzzled and confused. Quality listening means you are able to back-track, ask clarifying questions and confirm your clear understanding of what’s being discussed, with less chances of mistakes.
Quality listeners actually appear more intelligent
When you have asked appropriate questions of your prospect and got quality answers, you are able to dig deeper and request more information, as the prospect opens up and trusts your viewpoints on ideas for their business. This increases your value to them and makes you appear trustworthy and intellectually and emotionally more intelligent.
Qualty listening opens up opportunities and problems that you didn’t know existed
Deep listening will create a bond between you and the prospect, allowing you to find out more about the problems they face, especially if you probe deeper to uncover the problems and rewards that your services could deal with.
By identifying the reasons why listening can help you in the collaborative interactions you have, very soon you will reap the benefits of trust and respect that create long-term business partnerships with your key clients.
Originally published: 21 May, 2010
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