Need More Sales? Open Your Mouth and Start Listening

Posted by Pete Humes

592487ce9efa89780afcff40_o_U_v0.jpgThis is what Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson looks like when he’s bored out of his mind.

Sure, he looks happy, but trust me… he’s dead inside.

Who can blame him? He's on a Hollywood press junket. They are notoriously tedious promotional marathons that require constant charm and a mechanical, methodical approach to interacting with the media. 

Imagine yourself in his seat, facing hours of on-camera interviews and an assembly line of giddy entertainment reporters asking the same inane questions… over and over and over again.

Maybe there were some good questions in there, possibly even a few great questions over the course of a day. But I’ll bet nobody REALLY listened to what the Rock had to say (let alone, smelled what he was cooking).

Most likely, the box-office superstar just smiled, flexed his 20-inch biceps and doled out slightly different takes on the same press junket soundbites. How sad.

What the heck does that have to do with selling?

While you’re probably not pitching to hunky A-list celebrities, you may face the same kind of ineffective, “going through the motions” interaction if you don’t learn how to REALLY LISTEN to your prospects.

And you’re going to need to use more than your ears.

John Jantsch COMBO-1.pngListening is such a vital skill for top sellers that John Jantsch kicks off “Duct Tape Selling” with a chapter urging all salespeople to become better listeners.

Yes, there are quick reminders about practicing “active listening” and observing body language, but Jantsch’s most compelling advice is that really great listeners are the ones who ask really great questions.

He calls it “perceptive listening.”

“One of the most important things you can do is to figure out what clients really want to know when they ask a question,” Jantsch writes.

Getting to the “reason behind the reason” means keeping a quiver of questions handy to help your clients better articulate their needs. Questions such as:

Can we get SPECIFIC?
WHY is that a problem?
What does that MEAN?
How do you MEASURE success?
How does that make you FEEL?

Those questions (and the rest of them in Chapter 1 of “Duct Tape Selling”) are designed to flip the scripts and strip away layers of obfuscation. They are crafted to expose the core issues instead of wasting time and effort dancing around the “symptoms” of a problem.

While it may sound strange to bring up feelings in a professional setting, Jantsch goes on to explain that understanding the emotion behind an issue can give salespeople great leverage.

“At the very least, this question will allow you to gauge the importance of the situation,” he writes. “If they don’t seem to be too concerned with a solution, for example, they may not be as far along in the buying process.”

You don’t have to deploy all of the questions at once, but introducing one or two to your repertoire is absolutely recommended.

You can buy Jantsch's book
to get the rest of the questions
in Chapter 1 or...
 join us for a discussion of all 18 chapters
of “Duct Tape Selling”
on Friday June 9th in Norfolk.



The Challenger Customer Combo.png

Sales & Marketing Book Club July 14: "The Challenger Customer"

"The Challenger Customer" takes on and refutes a lot of conventional wisdom about what works and what doesn’t work in modern B2B marketing and sales. The authors challenge the conventional wisdom with extensive research done over the last five years.

Paul Smith COMBO.pngSales & Marketing Book Club August 11: "Sell with a Story" by Paul Smith

“Sell With A Story” will show you how to pick the right story and craft a compelling and memorable narrative that will make your sales (and marketing) more effective. The appendices at the end of the book are worth the price of the book alone.



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