It has been two months since I started my career in Sales.
Compared to the first month:
- I am a little bit more relaxed during the phone calls
- I deal easier (emotionally) with rejections
- I am still waiting for my first signed client to pay the bill…
That being said, let me tell you why listening was the most important lesson I learned in my 2nd month.
First, about a little game we played during a workshop
The game consisted of listening to a story of a couple which moved between cities and made 4 big decisions: buying a house, then selling it; buying another one, then selling it.
We had a lot of details (mostly unnecessary) about their life, but the question was how much money did they end up with after these 4 financial transactions.
We were told that this is a Harvard Business School case, but in fact it was a second grade math exercise.
The idea was to see what results we got individually and then to discuss during 3 sessions with different teams how we got those results.
We were allowed to change our mind about the response after each session.
What was the point?
One point was to see if the person that got the equation right can persuade other persons who didn’t agree with her to reach the same result.
The catch is that theoretically there could have been more than 1 correct answer.
So another point was to realize that people have their own perspective of thinking about a problem and it does not necessarily mean that it is wrong.
How did I do? Pretty bad…
Because I was so sure my answer was right, I stopped being the dumbest person in the room and I became a smart-ass.
Instead of listening to the other person reasons, I just kept on pushing my own perspective.
I got impatient and frustrated because the others could not see what I thought was the most logical way of approaching the problem.
Thus, I ended up acting more aggressive than most people even though I got the correct answer.
As a sales person, you cannot persuade if you do not understand the other person.
If you want people to understand people, you have to listen to them.
In order to listen, you have to ask questions.
What solutions do you currently use?
If you haven’t had any big issues with your current provider, were there any small issues?
What is the biggest reason you do not want to switch to another solution, even though you could save money?
Then, almost every thing the lead is saying is an opportunity for you.
If you use X solution, I guess that consumes a lot of resources. Our product is [ZZZ], so you do not have to spend any man power to maintain it.
You said that due diligence is the biggest reason besides money. Well, we have been in this business for Y years and we have had many customers who switched from your provider to us. Let me tell you one example…
This way, you can also tell a story, which helps to build trust.
Do you listen the right way?
Personally, I got mentally freezed during many calls after the first objection was raised, because I thought I had no more chances to persuade that lead.
However, my colleagues had at least 2 creative ideas of overcoming almost every objection and turning them into strong positive aspects of our solution.
Improving your listening comes with experience.
But first, start listening.
Then listen more.
With time, you will learn how to talk as well.
PS: If you liked this article, you might also enjoy the review of my 1st month into Sales, which includes some lessons as well.