Best Practices in HR
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Jeff Davidson
  August 30, 2015

The Best Sale Professionals Really Listen

Particularly when demonstrating to customers that you are listening to what they are saying, here are three worthwhile activities:

1. Take notes as they speak – actually a few key words will do. Some people are reticent to do this because, for some reason, they think it is unprofessional. Yet, to make the most out of your encounters with customers, have a paper trail of what transpired. As such you subtly flatter the prospect by indicating that what he says is important.

2. As needed for your own understanding and clarification, restate what the customer has just said in your own words and get his acknowledgment that you have in fact, understood what he said. This technique is often preceded by phrases such as:

* In other words, you are saying…
* To put it in perspective then, …
* Let me see if I understand this…
* So that would mean that…
* Let me see if I can explain it back to you…

3. Whenever you are in doubt – scout  Let the other person know when you haven’t understood or suspect that you haven’t understood what he has just said. It’s one thing to stand there and nod your head and be cool, but if you don’t understand what the customer really wants, how can it possibly help you and your company?

Indicating that you would like more clarification regarding what the customer has said does not put you in a bad light – this person might have explained the same thing to others who nodded in agreement and then ultimately proved that they weren’t not really listening.

My classic tale: for my first car purchase, I told the salesman that I didn’t want a white car. He happened to have gem, in white, but I re-stated by preference. A few minutes later, superior hearing that I have, I heard him mutter to a colleague, “this dingbat doesn’t know a good deal when it’s right in front of him.” I promptly left the showroom and, within two days, at the intersection in town, bought the same model car, in sky blue.