First, Happy New Year to everyone – I hope 2013 is starting well!
In my last post of 2012 I discussed the importance on the types of questions our teams are asking as inside sales reps when they are having a conversation with a prospect. So to carry the theme loosely across to my first post of 2013, I wanted to discuss the importance of listening.
I think we can all agree that a key attribute of a strong inside sales rep is their ability to get the prospect talking about their current environment, the pains/needs they are facing day to day. That said, uncovering this information does not only come from asking questions that formulate useful answers, but the art of listening is something that is just as critical, if not more important. Listening is something that we would all probably like to say “I am a good listener”, when in reality, I think it is a skill that we all need to constantly develop and ensure we are reminding ourselves of just how to be the “good listener” we need to be successful in sales.
As I began to try and find some material on tips to become a better listener for me and my team to review together, I found an article posted on Robert Terson’s Selling Fearlessly website by Dr. Tony Alessandra titled “Sixteen Commonsense Listening Tips”
First off, this article started with a quote from Archie Bunker, so how could I not read on! I found the content that Dr Alessandra discussed to be extremely useful and a very good set of tips to read over and share with my team as a reminder about a skill we often take for granted.
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As Inside Sales Managers, it is not only important for us to help our reps become better “questioners” but also critical to make them much stronger listeners so that they are developing opportunities of high quality that will advance in the sales process. If they are not listening well, they are not hearing the important information they need to ensure they are qualifying the prospect.
One way you can help your reps hone their listening skills is to set-up a mock call session and have them treat it like an actual call (taking notes, etc). Behind the scenes record this call session and then a day later sit down and review the transcript together and have them take notes on the call. Then compare the notes they have taken to see just what they originally heard during the conversation and then what other information they may have missed.
This is just one technique that can be useful, I know there are many more, how do you work on your listening skills?