It has been said many times over the years, and still too many salespeople think that it is OK for them to ignore a prospect once the prospect brings something up that they consider not to be a vital issue (yet it’s a vital issue for the prospect). In fact, with some of those that I’ve managed or trained over the past years, they openly share that they were taught that way to counter an issue, or whenever they got into a tight situation, but when they were probed about how often they sold in situations such as this the answer was generally an “I don’t know,” and then when they were pressed further, they mostly admitted they didn’t sell at all – after they had thought things through properly.
Firstly you need to listen, and know why listening is so important. So let’s hit the nail on the head before we start. The conversational opposite of listening is ignoring, and what most us put little value on, we also tend to ignore. Positive messages attract us all, and we will mostly find time to pay attention to something we value – or when someone agrees with something we value. On the other hand, we tend to give little time, or attention, to anything of little interest to us, and for that reason we tend to ignore it – because it has little value to us or we are simply not interested in it whatsoever. Yet in so many selling presentations, that may not be the case most times, simply because so many salespeople tend to become so engrossed in what they are doing, they may appear to ignore others as they focus on staying on track with their sales message.
Notice I used ignore here, and that’s because, the salesperson is so engrossed in the selling process they pay more value to what they are doing than they pay to the prospect. In the process they also forget two vital factors and these are, that the most important person in the room at the time is the prospect, and the second is you ignore someone in sales at your peril.
What so many sellers also seem to overlook is that whenever we are in conversation, we send out signals others pick up on – most that are trained in this art understand the power of body language. Yet we all “feel” the emotional message we send out – females are mostly better at this than are males. But, any body language practitioner will be quick to tell you that positive body language tends to attract, negative body language tends to repel and can quickly contribute to some form of tension, however, if you really want to get on side with someone, you mirror (copy) their mannerisms and within a short time they will mostly begin to mirror (copy) you back. When that happens they will usually gladly allow you to take control of the sales proceedings at that point.
Now here is a main pointer to further understand the importance of not ignoring others while you’re selling. One of the fastest ways to turn off a prospect, and hurt their feelings, is to ignore them more than once or for a prolonged period. Whenever you do that it usually makes them feel as if the seller doesn’t care. Then when they sense that you don’t care, then keep on ignoring them, at first they may feel slighted and angry, but if you continue to ignore what they are saying, or interrupt them in mid-thought, they will feel they have every right to feel angry. How would you feel if it was happening to you? Ignoring or interrupting is just not on, and to many it is just plain rude behaviour.
Keep it up, and don’t be surprised if they back off and will possibly cut things short, or ask you how much longer will this take. Once this happens, start to pack up, because if you don’t leave at that point you may overstay your welcome to the point where you will never be able to return.
Listening is the Key – that’s for sure
Salespeople that take the time to listen intently to everything the prospect says by either answering the questions asked by the seller – that may sometimes reveal more than the seller intended – or by allowing the prospect to talk openly about something that is ‘dear to their heart’s.’ At times like these, the benefits to the salesperson are not only valuable as to what they hear, but the act of listening increases the salespersons self-esteem.
Many sales trainers I know also suggest that the act of listening alone, is considered by many prospects as basic good manners, apart from making them feel special when in the presence of a professional – both of which allow them to relax and be more open. It has been said that listening to another is considered by many as among one of the highest forms of flattery anyone can give to another. Most times, when someone listens intently to what someone else is saying, it becomes obvious to them that the seller genuinely cares about what they are saying. Because of this their self-esteem goes up.
Notice that both the self-esteem of the salesperson and the prospect goes up because one does the listening and the other benefit’s because they are being listened to. To me, that becomes a win/win for both – because the individual the feeling of personal value increases for both – and it’s always nice whenever someone feels more worthwhile and important as a human being. And if that means you have made someone feel terrific about themselves just by listening in a genuine, caring way to everything they have to say.
Remember it’s Your Self-Image that Telegraphs other’s
WHO YOU ARE
Who are you and how do you see yourself – when compared to others in your industry? Better still, how do you believe others see you? Are you happy with your life, career and the products or services you sell? Remember, the outer-self that gets noticed first, but it’s your inner-self your prospect gets a glimpse of as you spend time with them. Yet most of us work more on their outer-self and believe it is all they need to do.
Now take notice of these messages, especially if you’re not selling as much as you used to. Chances are you may be spending far time on the outer-self without balancing it out the time spent on the inner-self. The reason for this is that every one of us will always behave on the outside in a behavioural conduct which is in harmony with the image we have of ourselves on the inside.
Would they see you as a calm and confident individual, well prepared and skilled in your craft? Would they see a competent salesperson who cares about them as individuals? The reason you need to get a check on your overall persona is that if you do, you will most likely start to think positive and happy thoughts that others will pick up on in the general way you do things.
Now if you begin to perform well and start getting the excellent results you deserve others are more likely to be attracted to you and what you do. And that’s about your self-image, and the way you want to be, and the way you want to be seen by others. But the best part is, if your self-image is where you want it to be, and you are comfortable with it, there is nothing and no-one that can hold you back.
This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 50 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 65 books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com