Copyright (c) 2014 Mr. Inside Sales
What do you think the most important skill of a Top 20% producer is? Persistence? Work ethic? Time management skills? Closing skills? Tenacity? Certainly all of these skills are present with any Top Performer, but what really separates a pro is their ability to truly listen. And I mean the ability to sit through awkward silences, to not jump in and speak when the client or prospect is thinking, and to be O.K., in fact even welcome, those dead silences when it's almost impossible not to say something...
So how do you get better at listening? Here are the three top techniques I teach that immediately make you a better listener:
#1) Get in the habit of hitting your MUTE button immediately after you ask a question OR immediately after your prospect or client begins to speak. This habit will force you to listen and, because you're muted, it even allows you to talk over your prospect because she/he won't hear you!
The other rule with the MUTE button is to count slowly to 3 after they pause or when you think they are done speaking. You'll be amazed by how they will often fill in the space and complete their thought - often giving you amazing information you can use to close the sale.
#2) Use my favorite technique to encourage someone to keep talking. If a prospect says something you don't understand, or if they haven't revealed a buying motive yet, when they stop talking, simply say, "Oh?" I know that sounds too easy, or even a little awkward, but try it and see for yourself how powerful this is.
Also, make sure your voice goes up at the end of the "Oh?" Put a question in your voice as you say this and after you do, make sure and Hit MUTE. If you master just this one technique, you'll be so far ahead of your competition because you'll learn much more from your prospects and clients...
#3) Use any of the following statements to encourage your prospects to keep talking:
"What do you mean by that?"
"And what else?"
"How do you mean?"
"I'm sorry, come again?"
"What would have to change for you?"
You see how this goes. The important thing is to ask an open ended question and, after you do, Hit MUTE! It took me several years to learn how to truly listen to my prospects and clients, and I used all of the above techniques to help me get really good at it. I will tell you now that I hear things no one else hears. I hear the motive and the meaning behind what they are saying, and if I'm not clear, I simply say, "Oh?"
Don't take my word for this, instead, try it yourself and see. I guarantee that once you get good at listening, you'll get better at qualifying and closing. And if you don't improve your listening skills, you won't improve in those areas very much or very quickly. Remember, the most important skill of a Top Producer is the ability to truly listen.
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Mike has been voted one of the most Influential Inside Sales Professionals by The American Association of Inside Sales Professionals, and is THE recognized authority in the industry. Mike is hired by business owners to implement proven sales processes that help them immediately scale and grow Multi-Million Dollar Inside Sales Teams. www.mrinsidesales.com/
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