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Listening, 1st – You Have to Care

In last week’s, Going from Duh to Do – The Listening Edition, I shared that to become a good listener 1st – you have to care about what the other person or people in the conversation have to say.
This is the number one reason I remind people “Hi, how are you?” isn’t a greeting! You’ve asked a question, and are now obligated to listen to the answer.
As salespeople if you use “Hi, how are you?” as a greeting and just move on – in the first few seconds of the call you’ve proved the stereotype true… that salespeople don’t listen!
Take a moment to write down all the questions you habitually ask…
Now determine if you care about the answers you might hear.

When you answer = yes I care!

AWESOME – you’re most likely listening to their answer.

You may determine that you really only care if the answer is one you want to hear.

I’ll admit that tuning out when people answer in a way that a salesperson doesn’t WANT to hear is the number one reason (when I’m observing or reviewing calls) I see listening STOP dead in a conversation.

It’s also the number one reason that salespeople miss out on opportunities, they’re not listening to what the other person is saying fully – rather before they even finish asking the question they’re ONLY listening for the one they want to hear.

Many times the things that people share are important to them… and will inform you, the salesperson, what would need to happen for you to work together.

PLUS to anyone out there that sells more than one product or solution – they may even tell you about a problem they have that you can solve if you’re paying attention.

If the answer is; ummm no I don’t care, at all.

Begin by asking yourself:

  1. Am I afraid of what I’ll hear?
  2. Would I rather NOT know, than know their answer?

Yes = exploring your own emotions around all their possible answers

I’ll admit, I’m not sure how to write – in a newsletter – what to do to explore your own emotions. Then I realized if you’re an extrovert, you need someone to listen to YOU. Find a coach, mentor, or friend to discuss what you’re feeling.

Introverts, you probably have a way you move through processing your emotions – so you don’t need me to write about it anyway.

If that’s not it, then move on to figuring out if the reason you’re asking is to meet a social norm:

  1. Am I asking because I think I SHOULD care about the answer?
  2. Was I told that was a question I had to ask in some sales training or by management?

Yes = figure out if you can be successful NOT asking or reword the question so you do care about the answer

Now take what you’ve figured out, about yourself and the questions you ask:

  • REMEMBER to keep asking the ones you determined you care about their answers!
  • What could you do to remove the fear factor?
  • How could you rework the questions where you just don’t care into ones you DO care about the information they share?
  • What shifts do you need to make to listen regardless of what their answer is AND means to future sales success?

Listening because I care,

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