Listen hard if you want to make more sales

Over the next 3 blogs, I’m going to share the three biggest mistakes when it comes to making sales and negotiating.

These individual elements are categorically the most common parts of selling and negotiating that I see go wrong time and time again.

So, strap yourself in for a shallow-dive on the first element that you can overhaul yourself on, today.

Listen up!

Your ability to listen is the #1 way to kill an opportunity to make a sale or positively influence any negotiation.

Most of us believe we are great listeners. But do the people we are selling to truly feel that?

How often do you have your prospect saying to you things like “Yes, that’s right!”, “that’s exactly what the situation is”, or “spot on!”?

There is nothing more frustrating than feeling unheard. I’m talking about the meaning – what it is you’re actually trying to imply.

On the flip-side there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that someone truly understands you.

Super-charging your listening skills takes epic concentration and conscious effort to make your conversation less about you and more about someone else.

By enhancing your listening skills, you’ll become an Active Listener and you’ll also enjoy the by-product of improving how much people trust you.

There are some excellent books written about how to improve your listening skills. Take a look at my LinkedIn profile for some recent recommendations.

One particular aspect of listening is about applying strategic silence into your sales conversations.

Tip for new players: none of your prospects want to witness the “show up and throw up“, where you vomit your greatness all over someone.

Pro tip: Instead, resist all temptation to make the conversation about you, by listening hard and using strategic silence.

Let me first cover how to apply strategic silence and then I’ll explain why it’s so crucial.

Here’s the ‘how’:

  • Immediately after you’ve asked someone a question…pause and say nothing
  • When your prospect tells you you’re too expensive…pause and say nothing;
  • When you are told that they aren’t ready to move forward with your proposal…pause and say nothing
  • When anyone disagrees with you…pause and say nothing
  • When someone calls you a jerk… pause and say nothing

See , when you pause and say nothing, you put S P A C E into your conversation, which gives people room to breathe and you grant them the respect to think.

The opposite of this, isthrowingoutaveryfastanswer (maybe right, maybe wrong), which can make you confusing and it doesn’t show the other person respect. What it does show is that you are positioning yourself as more important in the conversation.

When you apply strategic silence, you’re not only allowing someone to be heard, you’re improving the quality of the conversation and being purposeful in how you interact. But most importantly you’re getting a heads-up on how to play out the situation.

This is because every time your prospect says something, they are giving you a CLUE. These clues are your answer-sheet for exactly what you need to say or do next.

For example, they say your price is a little high, or they express surprise at your price.

This is NOT the same as them saying “your price is definitely not within scope so we cannot proceed”.

In many cases, people respond as if they were getting shut-down in entirety. This means you’ve missed the clue.

By pausing for just a few moments, we allow the conversation to slow down and both parties time to consider what comes next. In most cases, when we pause, the other party adds more information which gives us even more clues!
With practiced application of strategic silence and active listening, we shift our position to a true collaboration in a sales conversation and our negotiations are far more productive and successful.

After all, if the conversation is boring, you’re not trying hard enough.