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Tip 1/6 of Mastering the Art of Active Listening

Nov 05, 2023

Active listening is the foundational skill when it comes to sales psychology. When you focus on understanding the customer's needs, you listen more than you speak. There's a reason why we have two ears and one mouth. You ask open ended questions. You can truly identify the pain points, the struggles, what's holding those potential buyers back from buying from you and then how you can personalise your story.


Solution inside the sales conversation will enhance the customer's trust and confidence in you. So, here are some key points for you to master around the art of active listening: 


Number one around the art of active listening is we are going to make sure that we focus on needs. So when you are speaking to them, make sure you shift your thought patterns around.


What am I going to say next to actually listening to what the customer needs? Then you can actually prioritise your understanding around their particular needs and challenges, which will allow you to tailor what it is you are saying inside of that sales conversation to help them with their challenges.


Number two is to ask open-ended questions. So when we ask open ended questions, what that means is just not listening, a yes, no response from them. Open ended questions allow them to shift their thoughts and their feelings rather than just the simple yes, no, yes.  answers to you. 


You see, the first time you ask a question, they'll usually give you that surface level kind of thing, right? And then we've got to go. Tell me more and just dig deeper into that. I call it message mining. 


Number three is to avoid interrupting. Now, at the beginning of a call, I will let them know that there may be occasions that I interrupt them because I've gathered all the information that I need to move on. So that they already know that there might be that opportunity or that time in which I will interrupt them to keep moving forward. Because in a sales conversation, we don't always have a lot of time, right? But also I do encourage you to try not to interrupt them unless they're going off on some crazy tangent. Because when you interrupt them, it makes them feel unheard and less likely for them to open up


Number four is while you're using active listening, you also want to paraphrase back to them and summarise what you've heard so that your customer does feel seen, heard, loved, and appreciated by paraphrasing or summarising the key points that  they have said to you.


It shows that you have actually been understanding and it ensures that you have a mutual understanding with that prospect. 


Number five is do your calls inside of Zoom so you can look for non verbal cues. So pay attention to those non verbal cues like body language, facial expressions, because they can really reveal to you additional insights that your customer is feeling, their emotions, their feelings.


Number six is practice empathy. Empathy is huge. Put yourself in your customer's shoes. Try to understand it from their perspective.


Number seven is you stay present while talking to them. Show genuine empathy. This is while you're practicing active listening, you're actually paying attention to what they're saying during the conversation. Try to avoid letting your mind wander or planning what are you going to say next while in the conversation.


Number eight are some prompts that you can use to encourage the customer to share more. The three magical words, tell me more.


Now there are many ways you can say, tell me more. Phrase it different ways, but at the end, we want to mine into that with using, tell me more. Or, “Ooh, that's interesting. I'd love to know more about that or what else is important to you. Can you share more around that subject?


Number nine is ask follow up questions.


So that's again, digging into tell me more, digging deep into the customer's responses, because you really want to gain a comprehensive understanding especially in the first part of the sales conversation, because we're listening for things that will allow us to tailor the solution by paraphrasing, summarising, and then presenting them with the solution.


Number 10 is suspend your judgement. Remember, everybody views the world differently and the way in which they speak may not be exactly the way you see the world, so make sure that your assumptions or your judgments are suspended about the customer's situation. Try to stay neutral and open minded.


Somebody might say to you that they don't have any money or  they're struggling, but you will be surprised. When I've been on a sales call, somebody tells me the money objection. And if I straight away said, Oh, well then you can't afford me. I would not have given them the opportunity to tell me more to see whether or not that solution that I have is actually something that they're going to go above and beyond to be able to get to the outcome that they're looking for. 


Number 11 is take notes. I am always frantically typing or writing. You can also record the session during the conversation. I always ask. permission to record during a sales call so that you can refer back to the notes later.


You can improve your sales strategy, but also, so you don't miss any critical information. You see, when you practice active listening in your sales conversations, you master the art of active listening. You can build a stronger connection with your potential customers, understand their needs and be more effective at providing a tailored solution to enhance the trust and the confidence in you and your service.

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