9th Law:The more you ask and listen, the more you sell
If you are not moving closer to what you want in sales [or in life], you probably aren’t doing enough asking. – Jack Canfield
A story was told about an outrageous insurance policy purchase by Henry Ford. The story got the attention of a close friend of Mr Ford who was noticeably upset because he was in the insurance business. Mr Ford’s friend went to him and asked why he had not bought the policy from him. Henry Ford’s exceptional answer is an eye opener to every salesman. He said, ‘‘You didn’t ask me.’’ In sales, you must ask for the order. You must take the right actions. You don’t assume – you initiate actions and create the things you want to see.
Two great skills
Two of the greatest skills to acquire in communication are: ability to listen and ability to ask questions. If you can develop the skill to ask the right questions at the right time, and the patience to listen attentively in order to get the right answers, then success is near to you.
In the sales world, asking and listening bring out the hidden treasures in the prospect. When you ask the right questions, and listen as if you are paid to just listen to the prospect – unsaid things that will lead to the closing would be made known to you.
Listen to be informed and be guided properly. The man who listens during conversation hears the unsaid. Effective listening is when you are able to hear what is said and what is not said. Sometimes, the most important part of the communication is not voiced. You need to decode it yourself during the process and you do this when you know the art of effective listening. When you apply effective listening skills, you listen with your ears, heart, eyes, and even with your mouth!
Between effective and partial listening
Effective listening is different from partial listening. In effective listening, you listen with the intention to understand and communicate. Effective listening is total listening. Partial listening is different. The receiver of the message in partial listening – listens with the intention to respond and not with the intention to understand. He listens to what he wants to hear. The listener makes up his mind even before the sender of the message begins to talk!
In partial listening, the receiver of the message listens for formality sake. Sometimes, he cuts in without waiting for the sender to conclude. This is because he is listening with the intention to respond from a predetermined position, and not with the intention to communicate effectively. This listening style does not build relationship because it is discourteous. The two methods: effective and partial types of listening are two distant poles that cannot meet. The former is ideal; while the latter should not be practised at all. Salesmen must note this aspect. In asking questions, try to ask what will ensure a robust communication. Don’t just ask questions for asking sake. Ask with the intent to discover the prospect and what his needs are. Discovering the prospect is the starting point of sales success.
Richard Branson said, ‘‘listen more than you talk. Nobody learns anything by hearing themselves speak.’’ It is when you listen to others that knowledge will increase. In sales, some prospects are naturally apprehensive. They see the salesman as someone who has come to take from their pockets! These sets of prospects won’t be in a hurry to let the salesman know all that is going on in their minds.
Listening is discipline
The glaring truth is that it takes discipline and patience to listen. It is also true that a lot of people lack this attribute. They just want to be heard when they speak. They want everyone to wait and listen to them! They want everyone to wait for them while they speak and once they are done, impatience sets in. They won’t wait to hear other opinions.
It takes discipline and patience to balance the weakness in this area. A disciplined fellow will naturally wait for his turn to speak. The man who listens is patient, disciplined and humble. These are great sales attributes. These are qualities that lead to success. Don’t set out without them.
George O. Emetuche
Brian Tracy endorsed bestselling author, speaker, and sales trainer.