I talk a lot about the importance of listening for inside salespeople – my friend Karin Bellantoni, Founder of the Katalyst Agency is talking about Are You Listening To Your Business? in her new eBook.
What is stakeholder listening?
> “Sorry you can’t say you’ve listened in every meeting just because you’ve been present.”
I don’t know about you but I’m guilty; being in a meeting doesn’t mean I’m actually listening. Even though I know that it doesn’t do anyone any good to not actively be a participant in a meeting (especially with a prospect or customer) there are things that distract me… how about you?
> “As a leader, people around you may have incentives to not tell you the full truth. The picture you’re presented with could be a complete illusion.”
I was meeting with an inside sales leader who admitted her team was afraid to give her a forecast below goal.
That was a SCARY self-revelation. If the forecast, no matter how fabulous or bad the outlook, is accurate you know what actions to take. If it is a complete illusion – then so is your view of what needs to be done.
How to listen
> “Here are the benchmarks we set at Katalyst”
I know that seems like a silly insight on the surface. Here is the interesting thing, I KNOW most inside sales organizations actually train people how to listen.
We talk about closing skills, questioning skills, qualifying skills, prospecting skills – yet year over year people in positions to purchase what we’re selling complain that salespeople don’t LISTEN.
A great starting point is to set listening benchmarks, then you’ll know what is missing.
Results of NOT listening
> “Markets are conversations. If your business does not engage stakeholders in meaningful dialogue how can you ever be sure you are hitting the mark now and for future growth?”
At UpYourTeleSales we define a conversation as an exchange of ideas between people. I you’re not listening – there is no exchnage… therefore NO conversation. NO engagement. NO growth.
Results of listening
> “a Listening Business fully understands where it stands.”
Once you know both where you are and where you want to go, you can determine the most effective and economical way to get there! You will be able to make your team’s success skyrocket.
> “Businesses have a tremendous opportunity when they care about what is being said…”
It is a little funny to me but while I was reading I determined that most of my listening failures are when I don’t really care. It may be that I don’t care about the topic at hand or the person speaking. Other times it is that I care MORE about something unrelated to the current conversation.
Regardless, anytime we don’t listen we have no opportunity at all.
> “Observe not only what they say but also what they don’t.”
There are times that we can learn more from what people DON’T share than from what they easily communicate. What is your team not telling you? How about your customers?
Why we love listening
> “It takes great intention to listen today.”
We all know intellectually that every time you ask a question you need to have the intention to listen to their answer. YET, how often do you not set the intention?
Plus, if you dial the phone – are you setting an intention to listen (even if it is to someone’s outbound voicemail greeting)?
Sources for further reading
Be sure to read all the way through! Page 26 gives you a fantastic resource list for even MORE information on listening to your business.
Thank you for listening
and thank you for reading, if you haven’t downloaded your copy of Are You Listening To Your Business? click now!
Their & my favorite confessor admitted, “an annoying and persistent need to shift the conversation in the direction of my personal agenda.” *sigh* how true that can be and what an important reminder of what to avoid when really listening.