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Is Anybody Out There? Five Steps to Increase Sales with Better Listening Skills

Is Anybody Out There? Five Steps to Increase Sales with Better Listening Skills

I know it’s happened to you too.  You've had a busy day and you have a simple question.  Maybe you want to know what your account code is to pay your electric bill or you need some tech support.  Either way, all you want is to speak with a representative, a human being.  You press “0” once, twice, three times, four times and then that snarky machine voice foils your desperate attempt to “Speak with a representative” and instead says “Press star to repeat these menu options.” You sigh, exhale and hang up.

I know it’s happened to you too.  You’ve had a busy day and you have a simple question.  Maybe you want to know what your account code is to pay your electric bill or you need some tech support.  Either way, all you want is to speak with a representative, a human being.  You press “0” once, twice, three times, four times and then that snarky machine voice foils your desperate attempt to “Speak with a representative” and instead says “Press star to repeat these menu options.” You sigh, exhale and hang up.

But, machines aren’t the only ones providing frustrating, automated responses.  In an age of increasing speed and convenience, it’s easy for people to tune out and go on auto-pilot.  When it comes to  successful selling, the “auto-pilot” function should be turned off.   Here are five steps to drive sales and client satisfaction through better listening skills:

Don’t Know it All: Don’t go into a meeting with pre-conceived ideas or push pre-packaged solutions.

Ask Questions: Sometimes a simple question such as “How is business?” can spur a real dialogue.

Identify Pain Points: This is where the magic happens.  Pay attention to any challenges your customer or prospect is facing.

Don’t One-Size, Customize: Whether you’re providing a product or a service, customization is king.  If you don’t have a capability, find a partner and make it happen.

Flex: Your approach, not your muscles (calm down Schwarzenegger). Seriously- be flexible.  Set metrics that are in line with your customer’s goals and don’t be afraid to change course as needs and landscape evolve.  The world isn’t static, and neither should your approach be.

What companies do you think do a great job of “listening”?  I’m all ears.

Heath Fradkoff is a Director at ABI marketing public relations.  You can reach him at +1 (212) 529 2583 and hfradkoff@abipr.com.

by Heath Fradkoff