Many people think that effective selling is the result of good communication. Agreed, but when they talk about communication skills, they only refer to the talking part and very conveniently forget about the listening part. There is a misconception that if a person speaks well, it means that he or she has good communication skills.
On the other hand, if one is a good listener, it is assumed that he or she doesn’t have good communication skills. That’s the conventional definition. But in reality, communication is both ways – speaking and listening.
Now, if you take a sales situation, it is all about communication. The buyer talks, buyer listens, seller talks and seller listens. It is a very specialized communication situation. The following are what you learn from this situation:
- You cannot sell, unless you understand what the customer needs.
- Understanding comes only through listening.
- In any sales cycle, you should ask a short question and keep listening.
- Listening happens through both your eyes and ears because you keep observing what’s happening.
- Listening is the most important skill in selling.
In my own experience, I have seen that the best sales people are excellent listeners but not equally good speakers. They are people who used to meet or exceed their targets, although they were unimpressive talkers – not very fluent or articulate and smooth. However, they were excellent listeners and knew when they needed to keep quiet and let the other person speak. When it came to talking, they were ready with the most appropriate thing to say.
If you want to become a good sales person, you need to improve your listening skills. The key point is that you cannot sell unless you understand the customer and understanding comes only through questioning and listening. You might have heard about a sales person needing to have good communication skills while attending or taking any sales training program. Remember, good communication includes both listening and speaking!