Have you ever noticed that when you’re talking to someone whose eyes are hidden behind dark sunglasses that you’re constantly straining to be able to see their eyes, to “see” what they’re thinking, to “hear” them better? We all try to listen, to understand, to relate to others – and we can all learn to do it better.
Learning to “hear” what your prospects are saying is an essential selling skill – and also, a pretty essential life skill as well. The better you are at listening and in turn, understanding your prospect, the faster you will build rapport, understanding and trust.
I’ve listed some awareness and listening skills below that will help you become a better listener and actually be able to hear what the other person is saying -- not just what you think they are saying or what you want to hear.
Now I know that you may find yourself feeling a bit stilted at first, but it won’t sound that way to your audience. We all want to be heard and understood – and when people can make us feel that way, we are much more apt to trust them and listen to their ideas as well.
Repeat what you think the person said — not verbatim, but by paraphrasing what you heard in your own words. For example, “Let me see if I’m clear about this . . . sounds like . . . ”
Bring together the facts and pieces of the problem to check understanding — for example, “So, it sounds to me as if . . .” -- or -- “Am I getting the right picture?”
Instead of just repeating what has been said, reflect the speaker’s words in terms of feelings — for example, “Sounds like you’ve tried some things that really haven’t worked very well and now you’re really feeling the pressure to find a solution.”
Part of really understanding your prospect’s real business issues may involve talking about the possible consequences of not achieving the stated goals. “What would the impact be to your company or to you personally if you could not achieve those goals?”
Start practicing today with friends, family and colleagues. Go ahead, test it out with a real prospect. You’ll be amazed.
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