Damian Johnson - “SERVING UP SALES” - Episode 7 - The Art of Active Listening
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Hearing is easy! For most of us, our body does the work by interpreting the sounds that we hear into words. Listening, however, is far more difficult. Listening is the process of looking at the words and the other factors around the words (such as our non-verbal communication), and then interpreting the entire message.
Salespeople don’t hold all of the cards anymore. With a quick Google search and some browsing, prospects can gather as much information about a product as a salesperson has.
As a result, it’s harder for salespeople to demonstrate their expertise. And if they can’t demonstrate expertise, it becomes all the more difficult to establish credibility and eventually build trust. Without credibility and trust, a salesperson will likely lose the interest of their prospect ... or worse, never really gain their interest.
So what should salespeople do? Simple: Invest in Active listening. As John Doerr writes, reps who don’t listen miss the opportunity to build rapport, uncover buyer needs, and let the prospect know you understand their world.
Show Objectives - The Why
Asking the right question of the right person at the right time is a powerful combination because the answers you receive set you up for success. However, that’s only half the story. The other half is actively listening to the answers.
Active listening is extremely helpful in building rapport between the listener and speaker. This shows the speaker that the other person is truly paying attention, which is especially important in the sales world. Prospects are often ignored or talked over because the focus is on making the sale, not the person making the purchase. When salespeople show they value the prospect's needs and opinions, it is far easier to build trust and ensure that the conversation results in a mutually beneficial experience.
Key Issues - Owner Perspective:
Active listening is a communication technique that helps increase understanding and rapport between a speaker and a listener. Rather than passively listening to the person talking (or not listening at all), the active listener pays close attention to the other person's choice of words, their tone of voice and their body language—which accounts for at least 80% of communication. The speaker takes in all these components and then repeats back to the speaker the most important points the speaker was touching on.
What You Need to Know - The What
Active Listening is a four-step process:
What You Need to Do - The How
Use minimal encouragers. Minimal encouragers are small verbal and non-verbal cues to indicate that you are listening, you are interested and are synthesizing the information the customer is giving you.
Examples of Verbal Minimal Encouragers include:
Examples of Non-verbal Minimal Encouragers include:
Having over two decades in a successful sales career in the mortgage sector, Damian continues to pursue his passion in sales and people development.
Damian is also the Owner of Mandeville Ingleside LLC, whose mission is to develop and equip leaders, professionals, business owners and individuals who are able to build stronger teams that deliver demonstrated optimal performance and results.
Damian is passionate about equipping leaders and helping people to take action that will maximize their potential. His success and experience has allowed him to advance his reach, influence and impact by working with international organizations and teams who want to leverage their sales teams potential through in-person and virtual training programs across the Caribbean Islands (Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica), Europe (U.K.), Africa (Liberia), and South America (Costa Rica). In a strategic pivot to expand his reach internationally, he is also a Radio Talent with the International Business Growth Network.
You can connect with Damian on Facebook and Instagram via his handle @iamdamianjohnson
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