Selling Technique - ListeningA large company, looking for change, hired a new CEO who was determined to rid the company of its slackers. Shortly after becoming the big kahuna, this new leader noticed a guy leaning against a wall at a company facility he happened to be visiting. Since there were lots of employees present, the CEO wanted them to know he meant business. He walked up to the guy and asked, “How much money do you make per week?” A little surprised, the young man looked at him and replied, “$400. Why?” The CEO pulled out his wallet, handed the guy $1,600 in cash and yelled, “Here’s four weeks’ pay, now get out and don’t come back!”

Feeling pretty good about himself the CEO looked around the room and asked, “Does anyone want to tell me what that slacker did around here?” After a few seconds of silence a worker spoke up and said; “He is the pizza delivery guy from Papa John’s.”

That’s an embarrassing way to take the reins at a new company. When was the last time you were able to learn something while you were talking? Just never! You can only learn by observing, asking, and listening, so why not sharpen your questioning ax in order to be able to gather better information that will help you formulate a more relevant and effective solution.

When probing don’t overlook asking about status and circumstances, issues of pride, personal interests, and certainly goals for the property or physical plant.

In order to improve your probing consider asking questions that:

  • Require productive thinking from prospects while they contemplate a response they hadn’t thought of before.
  • Guide the prospect to evaluate new information or concepts.
  • Help you appear more knowledgeable than competitors.
  • Advance the process toward the close.
  • Relate directly to the prospect’s situation and objectives.
  • Draw information from the prospect that helps you make the sale easier, such as how product or service will be used, or how it fulfills expectations.
  • Create an atmosphere that is positive.

The bottom line is for your questions to be clear and concise so that the prospect really understands what you’re asking.

On the other hand, when listening to responses take note of emphatic responses, long drawn-out explanations, statements that are repeated, and emotional answers.

—————————–Have You Heard These Facts? ———–

Employees who have been consistently coached:

Outperform their peers by 27%, are significantly (25%) more engaged, are 25% less likely to leave, are 11% more promotable, apply 18% more effort, and retain four times the amount of information after training. To help your salespeople attain improvement like this, Doug has some very inexpensive coaching solutions you can learn about here.

Sources: Sales Executive Council, Gallup, Hay Group, Harvard University, Goleman & Boyatzis


Importance of listening in sales processAs much as I harp about asking questions, I also realize this must be balanced by listening. If you don’t, you create question fatigue where your non-stop questions don’t provide your buyer with adequate response time. This is dangerous and can derail the information gathering process. Voila, fear not, there is an antidote for this malady and I call it, put your jaws on pause.

To implement PYJOP, all you have to do is stop and catch a breath twice for each question you ask. First, pause 3-4 seconds after asking each question, then do it again after the buyer responds. If you employ this effortless technique, two things will begin to happen immediately. Both the quality and quantity of the information you receive from the prospect will improve.

The reason for this is pretty simple. By giving the buyer a moment to think before they answer, you increase the chances of getting answers that are more accurate and thorough.

When you reprise this pause after the buyer answers, you improve your understanding of exactly what was told to you, not to mention that your buyer may very well add to what they said since they now have a couple of extra seconds to reflect. Chances of this occurring improve even more if you transmit some non-verbal signals, such as nodding, good eye contact, or even leaning forward toward them.

The result of these two short pauses is a more orderly and less stressful exchange of information. Although, like everything else, the first few times you attempt these pauses, you will probably feel awkward. Therefore, remember that practice makes better.

If, by chance, you put your jaws on pause, but your buyer doesn’t respond within several seconds, just reshape and repeat your question, greatly improving your chances for a well-thought response.


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