One of the things you’ve probably heard over and over again is that when you’re in business for yourself, you’re in sales. I mean – that’s the bottom line.
When you’re a solopreneur, you’re selling yourself and you’re selling your services. So, whether you realize it or not, you’re in sales all the time. Because of that, it’s really important to present in a way that is appealing to your ideal audience. That’s why I want to talk to you about listening skills.
So many people I’ve seen in business don’t listen well
What I’ve learned is that when you do listen well, it absolutely increases your sales, and increases your sales closing rate. The question I always get when teaching someone the sales process is, “Well, when can I talk?”
Generally, I see that people have the desire to jump right in and solve the clients’ problems. But, this is the wrong way to go about sales. If you haven’t taken that client through the emotions of a sales conversation, you are unlikely to be successful in closing the sale.
Let me try to explain a little bit
First of all, the sales process starts as soon as you have contact with the client.
You will want to ask questions like “What can I do for you? Why did you call me? What are you struggling with? What projects are you looking to start?”
Then, you want to listen.
No cutting them off, no nothing. You want to just listen.
And if you’re in person or on the phone, you can let them know, “I’m just taking a couple of notes so if you see me looking down or you think I’m not listening, please understand I am listening.”
That whole piece of discovering why they called you and how you can help them is pretty easy.
But then (and this is crucial), you want to roll that into, “Why now?”
You ask, “Why is now the perfect time for them to start working with me, or start this project?”
Is it that they’re finally fed up?
Are they finally in a big push to grow their business?
And if you’re an interior designer, you want to find out – Did their spouse finally release the funds? Or do they have a fabulous party coming up?
You want to know, “Why now?”
The “Why now?” is a key to understanding the emotion behind why someone is trying to hire you.
And in that emotion, you may find the key sentence, or the key understanding, or that connection point with them that will make the sales process a whole lot easier.
So again, the first step to listening to a client is, “Why did you call me?”
The second step is to ask them, “Why now?”
With those two steps of the sales conversation you not only want to be listening, but you need to be good at listening!
If you don’t nail the first two steps of listening, you can really miss out on what your client is trying to say.
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