“Can you hear me now? Over…”

I can’t help it. That commercial reminds me of how bad we are as listeners. I’ve struggled with this my whole sales career. I work on this daily – with my spouse, my kids, neighbors, my pets.

Are you like me? Do you have so much to tell your prospect that you can’t wait to get it all out? It’s like we all have some weird form of LDS (“Listening Deficit Syndrome”).

I was invited to “listen in” (thank goodness for the MUTE button!) yesterday to what I thought was a scoping call. A scoping call is a call or series of calls designed to disqualify a prospect. I’ll talk more in future posts about the concept of disqualification vs. qualification and why I think disqualification is a better use of your time. But for now, let me share what I learned yesterday from this meeting:

  1. The presentation was less than effective simply because the presenter did not have an understanding of what the prospect was looking for.
  2. There were few, if any, questions asked up front to get a sense of the prospects needs, desires, wants, ambitions, or frustrations.
  3. The presenter talked over the prospect 6 times. My head was listing to the side just like it does when my daughter plays her viola. (she’s better now, but those first few years – yikes)
  4. The presenter failed to align his offer with the prospect’s needs simply because he was talking product rather than finding out where it hurts.
  5. The prospect desperately tried to figure out how his business could “fit” the product rather than the other way around. It ached to listen to the struggle.

Tip

1. Know Who You Are Selling To. Begin with a simple series of 1-3 questions (prepare ahead of time if you’re nervous) asking them about where they are right now. Here are three questions I always ask (in fact, if you fill out our survey, you’ll see the questions there):

  1. PAIN:What frustrates you the most?
  2. AMBITION:What are you trying to achieve?
  3. NEED/COMPETITION:What have you tried already? What works? What doesn’t?

2. Don’t be afraid of silence.Sometimes it takes your prospect a minute or two to think about things. Let the time pass. PRESS YOUR LIPS TIGHTLY AGAINST ONE ANOTHER AND DON’T SAY ANYTHING!
3. LISTEN.Let your next question flow from WHAT YOU’VE JUST HEARD.
4. Repeat QUESTION->LISTEN until you have what you need to present your solution.

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