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How To Show Sales Prospects That You Are Listening… Even If You Are Just Acting
When a prospect realizes that the salesperson is not really listening to what he is saying, it can often flip the dreaded switch that completely shuts him down to a non-buying mood.
All the time and resources you used to get up to the point of meeting up can go to waste. And that is discounting the opportunity costs you gave up for all that time. You could have used that precious time to acquire new home buying prospects.
Even worst, your lack of listening skills could actually convince the prospect that the “other” house he is considering is truly the one he should go for.
Maybe you are a competing agent’s greatest secret weapon after all.
Listening skills are paramount to productive and lasting relationships. And it is even more important when dealing with prospects when your sales is on the line. It affects your income and your reputation among others.
I have to admit that sometimes our minds are on so many issues at the same time that it is impossible to digest every word that a potential client has to say.
But usually you should be able to pick out and process the gist of a conversation.
The problem is that even though you might have been listening intently to a customer, he or she could actually think that you are not paying attention. This perception alone can greatly affect the outcome of the meeting.
There goes another property sale transaction that will eventually be closed by someone else…
To avoid leaving the prospect’s perception of your attentiveness to chance, there are some simple tips you can use which will leave someone with little doubt that you have been listening.
So instinctive is body language that you don’t need to be an accomplished expert in the subject to tell that someone is not listening.
It is indeed a fascinating topic.
Body language is the only way of communication is that naturally built into us when we are born into this world. What’s even more captivating is that animals understand it too.
Without going too deep into the details of the subject, there are simple tricks you can apply to show your attentiveness.
- eye contact
- nod your head
- lean forward
If you are doing telemarketing, the magic of body language could be inaccessible to you.
In this case, you need to use other methods to provide affirmations when selling over the phone.
This is too easy. And you are guilty of being an embarrassment to the real estate sales profession if you don’t use these simple affirmations on the telephone.
Use one-worders like these during phone conversations to keep the flow going:
- Go on
- I see
In school, if something is really important, you will note it down in your notebook or highlight the paragraph in your textbook. It communicates the same thing to a prospect sitting across you from the table.
This is an action that can serve 2 useful purposes.
- You show the prospect that you are interested
- You have something to refer to when you forgot what was said earlier in the conversation
If someone is trying to sell me a complex product like web solutions, it would definitely feel odd if the salesman understood every sentence I said and knows exactly what I want.
If fact, if he does not even attempt to clarify what my requirements were, I’d get the feeling that he has a ready-made stock template to sell me even before discovering my needs.
Questions keep conversations going. It helps people learn more about each other. And it emphasizes that the questioning party was listening and has to clarify the meanings behind what was said in the interaction.
Even if you do fully understand what a prospect needs, or have a slimy template solution that you want to shove down his throat, you should at least ask a few questions so as to set a tone that you are listening… not just hearing.
Here are some general questions is can ask in almost any situation.
What exactly do you mean by a house with ______?
Do you really want to ______?
Does that mean that you will also be doing ______?
Allow the prospect to talk
When I first got into sales, I thought that I needed to dominate the conversation and keep talking non-stop. It was as if I would not be able to close if I allowed the prospect to talk more than me.
That was so wrong and misguided.
This is related to listening. But more than anything it is about mind games.
The ideal selling process is for the customer to reveal his requirements, which you will then “customize” a solution for, and then agree to a deal.
If you do not allow a customer to finish his sentences and get what’s on his mind on the table, any solution you propose later will contain a hint of suspicion. Because how can your product or service solve the customer’s problem when he hasn’t had the chance to reveal the problem?
This can seem like a small detail. But don’t underestimate the power of it.
It’s the psychology of selling at it’s core.
Don’t cut them off from finishing their sentences. And if you unwittingly did, go back to the issues by saying something like “What were you trying to say back there?”
You must have heard about this sales technique if you have ever attended even a basic sales lesson.
Paraphrasing can be simply defined as relaying what someone has said back to them.
In selling, you can typically do this in a couple of ways:
- Reading back to prospects exactly what they said
- Saying what they said in your own words
The second method is undoubted more powerful in terms of making prospects feel valued and understood.
Tell a related story
This is a more advanced selling technique. But I’d just share it here even though this article is about basic tips.
Treat it as a bonus 😀
What I like to do is pick up topics within discussions and share off-topic stories regarding them.
For example, a week ago I met up with a group whose chief negotiator happened to be a neurologist. Upon learning about his profession, I immediately launched into a real story of how I took my mother to see a neurologist when she had a head injury. It had nothing to do with the deal that’s on the agenda. But by doing that, I’m setting a friendly negotiating tone as the stage.
More importantly, it markets me as a person instead of a salesperson.
This action shows that you have genuine interest in speaking to a prospect and that you are so experienced in your job that you are able to wander off to other topics without following a sales script. Just remember to bring the topic back to where it was previously.
It’s also a nice little tactic to move a focal point which you feel could be detrimental to the sale.
To close this topic
Remember that your potential buyers are not just robots disguised as prospects. They are people… and people are emotional. Some have egos and some have self-esteem issues.
To give yourself the best chances of closing more sales, you need to satisfy the prospects’ need to be heard. And you do that by listening… or displaying traits that you are actively listening.
They will eventually be grateful to you for selling them the wonderful house which you recommeded.