Active listening is a powerful sales skill. It can help you understand what your customer wants, find the emotional triggers that make them buy and create a deeper connection with your audience.
When done right, active listening can help you:
Understand what your customers are saying and feeling
Build rapport with your prospects
Avoid misunderstandings that lead to dead ends or lost opportunities
Active listening means being fully present with the person you are speaking with. You actively try to understand the other person's point of view and take that into account when responding. When you're an active listener, you're more likely to show up as a credible and trustworthy salesperson who can really understand what your prospect needs.
Here’s how you can use active listening to improve your sales strategy:
Ask open-ended questions instead of closed ones
Open-ended questions encourage people to elaborate on their answers and tell you more about themselves and their needs than closed-ended questions do.
This will help you build better relationships with them and sell them more products/services because they'll know exactly what they need from you instead of having to guess at it based on what they think might work best for them (which will lead them to waste time purchasing products/services that don't meet their needs).
Don't interrupt or jump in too quickly when the prospect is talking. You'll be able to hear more details about their needs if you wait until they've finished a thought before jumping in with your response.
Listening attentively will also allow you to give prospects time to express everything they have to say without feeling rushed or pressured by time constraints.
Listen for emotions
Pay attention to how people sound when they talk about different topics. Are they excited? Annoyed? Happy? Sad? These emotions will help clue you into whether or not it would be beneficial to offer solutions or suggest alternative ideas based on what they've told you so far.
Show empathy by reflecting back on what you heard
Reflecting back is a technique that entails summarising or paraphrasing what someone has said to show that you understand them and are paying attention.
This helps build rapport and trust with your prospect because it shows them that you care about their situation and understand all the information they've shared with you.
Acknowledge their emotions by saying things like: “I can see how that would be frustrating for you.” or “That must be a difficult situation to be in.”
Try putting yourself in their shoes and empathising with what they must be feeling.
Listening for objections and concerns.
The majority of people find it easier to talk about what they like than what they don't like or don't want — so if they're not talking about something, it probably means that there's a problem with it.
Identifying these issues early on will help you tailor your approach so that you can address any concerns or objections that arise before they become a deal breaker for them or their business.
Listen for the main idea of what the prospects are saying
Don't jump to conclusions or fill in missing details yourself. Instead of trying to figure out how you would react if you were in their position, try to see things from their perspective instead.
What problems do they face? What do they hope will happen? What solutions are they seeking?
Use nonverbal cues to show interest and agreement.
Eye contact, nodding your head and facial expressions can all tell the other person that you are interested in what they have to say and agree with them (or at least understand where they are coming from).
Nonetheless, don't use this technique excessively but rather in moderation.
Use paraphrasing and summary statements
Using paraphrasing and summary statements further improves the active listening process by giving the speaker more confidence in their statement.
When you repeat back what they said using slightly different words, they will feel like they have been heard, which is especially important if they feel defensive or nervous about what they want to say.
If you don’t listen well, then your prospect will quickly lose interest in talking with you and may even walk away from the conversation without buying anything from you. If this happens too often, it could be detrimental to your business because prospects won’t trust that you know what they need or want from your products or services.
Active listening is a technique used in communication where you are focused on the speaker and what they are saying. You can tell when someone is truly listening when they use body language such as nodding their head, making eye contact and asking questions that show that they understand what the other person is saying.
Active listening involves not just hearing words but also understanding the meaning behind them. It also includes letting others know that you are paying attention by giving them feedback about what they said so far. This helps build trust between people who are communicating with each other because it shows that both parties care about what the other person has to say.