Two Easy Tips to Take Advantage of Opportunities You Might be Missing

in Listening

Here are a few things I heard while listening to calls from a training prospect’s sales reps, who were calling their regular customers: 

“Where we’re deficient is in the area of…” 

“What our focus now is…” 

“We need to step up our game with…” 

“We’ll have to eventually look at…” 

I heard all of those on just ONE call. And the rep did not react directly to any of those statements.  

Not surprisingly, no forward sales progress was made on that call. 

My evaluation of the call was that it pretty much was what I call a “drive-by,” where the rep just checked in, asked how everything was going, got those responses in the course of the brief conversation–yet did not question them–and hurried off the phone. To his next drive-by. 

He potentially missed great opportunities to dig deeper, engage the customer, provide value, and perhaps make a sale on that call. 

My head is in my hands right now, just as it was when I heard the call. 

Please give me a moment. 

Ok. 

I am lamenting a casualty of the information-bombarded environment we live in. 

What is dying are the simple actions of paying attention, listening, and processing spoken words, and then reacting intelligently in order to engage in a meaningful dialogue. 

Forgive me if I sound like the grizzled old-timer who scolds kids with “When I was your age…” 

But it’s true. When most people get their information in 140 characters or less, and are so rushed they must write “ur” instead of the much more lengthy “you’re,” it makes sense that attention spans, and the desire to listen have reached all-time lows.  

(Perhaps you have even been distracted just since you began reading this.) 

I don’t have a universal solution to the distraction problem, and it’s certainly way above my pay grade and expertise (If you do want a deeper dive into it, I suggest checking out the resources and coaching available from “The ADD Sales Coach” http://www.addsalescoach.com/). 

What I will do is give two simple suggestions that can help you to not miss opportunities that might presently be served up to you regularly, just like the examples I gave earlier. 

Here they are:

1. Slow the call down, and,


2. 
Dig deeper instead of going wider. 
 

Let me explain. 

In fast-moving sports that require quick decisions, athletes who eventually reach a level of mastery often describe it as “letting the game come to them,” meaning that it seemingly moves at a slower pace, and they are not overwhelmed by the situation. They are not going in six directions at one time. 

You can do the same with your calls. 
 

Tactically, go into a call with your mind focused on an action-oriented call objective. To meet that objective you need to sell yourself on the fact that you must engage your prospect/customer, and understand why they say what they do. 
 

This provides a purpose. From purpose, action flows. The action is listening with laser-focused attention. 

Also know that for whatever they initially say in response to a question, you have just scratched the surface. You need to know what is below: 
 

Which is WHY they said what they did. 
 

This helps you to mentally slow down, enabling you to accomplish the second point: digging deeper. 
 

Digging deeper simply means peeling away the skin of the onion. Getting the speaker to give up more emotional answers, not just surface-level factual ones. 
 

It’s what you naturally do with anyone when you are truly interested in what they are saying. It’s just a matter of asking the next question in response to what they just said, instead of flitting to an unrelated question, or shifting the topic to you.  
 

For example, taking each of the statements from the recorded call, let’s look at what the rep could have responded with:   
 

“Where we’re deficient is in the area of…”

 

Rep: “Tell me more about that…”

 

 

“What our focus now is…”

 

Rep: “Oh?”

 

 

“We need to step up our game with…”

 

Rep: “What is causing the need for that?”

 

 

“We’ll have to eventually look at…”

 

Rep: “Hmmm, what would you plan on doing in that area?”

 

So those are some high-level advanced selling skills, right?

 

No. It’s quite simple to do, really.

 

IF you want to.

 

Practice those two points and you will see more of the sales opportunities that were always there.

 

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