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Sales Strategy: Is Your Prospect Listening?

Where sales go to dieIf you’ve ever had the opportunity to sit on the listening-side of a role-play, or act as an observer or manager while an eager account executive makes their pitch, you have likely witnessed that pivotal moment when a flawless presentation slides into pointless monologue.  It is like the rise and fall of a well-orchestrated opera, when the prospect is sending all kinds of positive signals… but the sales person presses on with their argument.  (They have a lot invested in the preparation of this presentation… and they’re going to darn well deliver it.)

Sensing that they’re not being listened to, the prospect begins to mentally check-out.  Their enthusiasm, once as robust as the feeling you get when you’re at the top of the roller coaster and you’re about to descend into excitement… becomes about as thrilling as the last 6 or 7 seconds of the ride, when you’re just waiting to get out of the car.

This is not just a moment in time.  It is a place… where sales go to die.  And it is a place only visited when—during a needs analysis—the seller places more importance on the questions they will ask than on the answers they will receive. Or when the presentation is seen as an opportunity to perform as a soloist, rather than collaborate as a team mate.

The most successful salespeople see their clients and prospects not as checkbooks or buyers… but as people to be helped, who know of challenges to be met, and who are willing to share the wealth if you provide the solutions to those objectives.

The most successful sales trainers do not just teach their students how to talk… but how to listen.

Your client has a need.  Do you hear it?  Even on presentation day?

 

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Mike Anderson is VP of Consumer Insights and Communication at The Center for Sales Strategy

Topics: business development, Needs Analysis, Management, Buying Process, Sales