Guest Post by Leanne Hoagland-Smith
There is a lot of noise within the sales advice world. Each month if not week, sales professionals are bombarded with the latest “sales flavor” from this or that small business consultant, sales coach or author. All this sales noise can be a barrier to the basics of the buying/selling process.
Zig Ziglar said it best:
“Sales is the transference of feelings.”
If all that noise is a barrier to the transfer of those feelings, then maybe it is time to rethink about returning to the basics of active listening.
In business and in life, we hear, we listen and then we actively listen. This third type of hearing is the most valuable because the action is very intentional. However when we allow all that sales noise into our sales engagement mindset, we may be losing opportunities.
Active listening is all about achieving clear communication between you and your prospect or sales lead. When I wrote “Be the Red Jacket in the Sea of Gray Suits, The Keys to Unlocking Sales Success”, I included this acronym for CLEAR communication.
Clarity – To separate the tangibles from the intangibles
Legitimize – To legitimize the real problems not the symptoms posing as problems
Emotion – To hear the emotions that are within the verbal, non-verbal and para-verbal communication
Agreement – To discover agreement by discovering common ground that will continue to build trust
Retention – To truly hear and remember what the other person said and probably told others but they (possibly your competitors) failed to actively listen
All the noise from the sales experts sometimes keeps us from engaging in clear communication because we are so focused on their advice from open ended questions to determining our next sales or style move, etc. we become lost. During those lost moments, we lose opportunities and probably more important lose our own voice, our own authenticity.
Shutting out all that noise is not easy because of the pressures of cash flow to achieving sales goals not to mention all of our own personal dreams and desires. Those pressures are some of the reasons we hear that noise and fail to actively listen.
All we can do is to be intentional and recognize there is no quick fix, as much of the noise is a response to those seeking the quick fix solutions. Sales is simple, though not necessarily easily. We as sales professionals can be far more successful when we return to the basics of active listening and at least for the moment shut out all that sales noise.
By Leanne Hoagland-Smith
Leanne Hoagland-Smith is an author, speaker, executive coach and Chief Results Officer for ADVANCED SYSTEMS, an executive coaching and talent management firm that discover the gaps between today’s results and tomorrow’s goals. She has been recognized as one of the top 10 women in sales to follow on Twitter and will be a judge for the first North American Women in Sales Awards (http://www.wisawardsna.com/) to be held in May of 2015 in Boston, MA.