3 top listening tips to avoid “I’m sorry, what?”

A group of salespeople asked me what I thought the most difficult part of inside sales is.

It was an interesting question and I had to think about it for a moment before I answered – there are so many different things that might be considered difficult by different people.

dreamstimefree_249922As the #1 complaint about salespeople – year after year – is that we don’t listen, resisting distraction is what I decided is #1.

Here are my personal 3 top listening tips I work to follow:

1. don’t ask questions you are prepared to listen to the answer to.

The ONLY reason we ask questions in sales is to have the opportunity to listen. This means you need to think before you ask and make sure you’re prepared to no only listen to their answer, but ask follow up questions as well.

2. DO NOT surf the web while dialing!

I’ve observed people doing this – their voicemails sound bored and if someone actually answers they aren’t ready to have a conversation.

Even worse… NEVER surf the web while in a conversation with someone. You can’t listen to them and browse. If you are looking up something ABOUT them, tell them that is what you’re doing.

3. reduce distractions.

If you are in a loud environment – double headset with noise canceling microphone will help. Lots of activity – have your monitor in the corner of your cube away from the action. Figure out ways to reduce the number of distractions that keep you from listening.

NEVER put yourself in a sales situation (or perhaps ANY situation) where you have to say “I’m sorry, what?” because you weren’t listening! Listening isn’t free, but it is priceless.

photo credit © Abdone | Dreamstime

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