Great partners are great listeners. Listening is a dying art form. If you want to Be Different, focus on and develop this skill, flex it like a muscle. Position yourself with your client as a superb listener and prove it by summarizing key points and action steps at the end of each critical conversation. If you can accomplish this with your client and prospect base, your value will quickly rise in the estimation of your contacts ... and they will quickly become your friends. A good listener is a valuable friend, and a valuable friend is a trusted business partner.
My last blog focused on the art of listening as an important tool in the successful salesperson's arsenal. This seems to be a topic that has resonated with many of this blog's readers, as I have actually gotten some mail on the subject. (And not the usual threats or marriage proposals from chicks behind bars, but actual complements!)
Tina-Jameson-Brown is a multi-line rep back in the Southeast. She thanked me for writing the "listening" article and noted that she had been in a first meeting just the day before with a distributor who is very successful. She specifically asked him what his best secret for success was and he responded, "listening!" Damn, seems like we're on to something! Tina liked my article so much that she offered to be my groupie. Of course, I accepted. I've always wanted a groupie and now I have one. Now I just need a zombie, a monkey and an invisible woman and I'll be all set.
Carla Bollinger who works with me at Halo Branded Solutions has some very important "sales rules" that she lives by each and every day. They are:
- Listen Carefully—Don't Interrupt
- Remain Calm—No Matter How Angry the Customer is
- Prove That You Listened—Repeat Important Points!
- Ask Questions—Get as Much Information as Possible
- Be Politely Powerful—Especially When it's a Customer Error
- Deliver Solutions and Take Bows
- Say Thank You! With Frequency
Those are some succinct and meaningful rules! And notice how many of them have to do with listening and communicating—pretty much ALL of them.