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Partner talk

Listening Between the Lines in Sales

Oct 08 2015, by PEOPLE in Sales

Salespeople are great listeners, right? Being able to listen is an incredibly important trait that all salespeople need to hone in order to be successful. But listening between the lines can really help you stand out to your clients and leads. Take all your listening skills that you’ve been building since childhood and bring them to the next level.

You will need your strong listening skills during a sale if consensus is involved. Your potential client may not divulge right away they have an entire team behind them that will need to approve of your services. When you listen between the lines, you may be able to tell if your lead is hesitant to sign on with you because they need approval first. Perhaps your potential client did mention her team but you used your sharply trained listening skills to realize that they didn’t mention the needs and wants of everything else. Salespeople can use this as an opportunity to show their ability to take initiative and think ahead by offering to discuss the sale’s impact on the rest of the team and what everyone needs to get out of the sale.

Objections and concerns are almost expected parts of the sales process. Every salesperson is equipped with strategies for overcoming objections and soothing concerns from their potential customers. If your lead isn’t bringing up any concerns at all, you will have to listen more deeply and see if you can discover what they are leaving out of the conversation. In a perfect world, no objections means that your pitch meets the client’s needs perfectly and that they are completely ready to move forward. Unfortunately, this will likely not be the case most of the time. When you listen to what’s not being said, you may discover that the client feels uncomfortable about raising any concerns because they don’t want to offend you or chase you off. In this case, it’s up to the salespeople to ask the client about their concerns. This shows them that you care about their opinions and are willing to work with them.

Your very first meeting with a prospective client, also known as your discovery meeting, is integral for building a solid foundation to your professional relationship. If you are met with silence during the discovery meeting, you will need to listen to what the client isn’t saying. They might just be quiet because they don’t feel particularly compelled by your pitch or because they are satisfied with their current salesperson. If your client isn’t saying much during the discovery meeting, it could also mean that they just don’t feel comfortable enough with you yet to go into detail about their needs or that they need more time to determine whether or not they want to keep working with you before they offer more information.

When it comes to sales, listening is so much more than taking in the words your customers and potential customers are saying. It’s more than paying attention to and analyzing body language. In order to truly listen, salespeople need to look for what’s not being said.