Okay everyone knows that to be an effective salesperson one needs to listen to the prospects and clients. So, we all know that, then why is it so difficult to get your salespeople to do it? I have recently noticed that many of the salespeople in my client companies are very seasoned and have been doing their job for many years. They are very experienced, and some are even considered experts in their field. I have discovered that there is frequently an inverse relationship between the experience level of the salesperson or new business developer and the listening they do in a sales call. It makes total sense. The salesperson in these situations IS the expert. They think they are expected to know all the answers. That is why the prospect is meeting with them, and that is why the prospect is expecting them to tell them what to do. Wrong. Prospects do not want answers from people who do not listen.
To enable your salespeople to highlight their expertise more effectively, get them to ask thought-provoking questions addressing items that impact their business – not just questions to try to manipulate them into buying. The more they can ask questions that the prospect does not have specific answers for, the smarter the salesperson will appear and the more the prospect will respect and trust the salesperson to provide the right recommended solution for them.
After a discussion with a CEO client of mine surrounding this topic, he suggested that the behavior we are looking for is that of a clinical psychologist. It is the concept of just asking the thought-provoking question, not reacting or judging, and then asking the next logical question until one gets to the point that the prospect does not know the answer or had not thought of this particular item before. If you can get your salespeople to operate more like clinical psychologists and less like know-it-all salespeople, they will truly be respected for their expertise and will separate themselves from the other salespeople out there who like to tell their prospects how smart they are, rather than demonstrating their value by showing an appropriate level of inquisitiveness.