To become an excellent listener, there are three main techniques that you have to pay attention:
Build high levels of rapport and trust your instincts
When two people have established high levels of rapport, they unconsciously pick-up on the feelings of each other. The quickest way to build a deep connection with the other person is to match their breathing. At this point, the sales person may get an instinct about something the customer ‘feels’, which is important feedback that is driven from their unconscious mind. Trusting these instincts can sometimes prove to be a challenge for people who work in a corporate, logical environment, yet the ability to ‘listen’ and act upon these instincts can make the difference between a good listener and a great listener. If, for example, you have created rapport and start to feel nervous, then chances are, so is your customer. Imagine the impact of asking, “I’m getting a sense that you’re feeling nervous about this, what specific concerns do you have?” will have on your customer.
Demonstrate that you are paying attention
This really encourages the customer to continue talking and helps put them at ease, because they can see that you’re interested in what they are saying. Using noncommittal words with a positive voice tone that neither agree nor disagree with what is being said, will ensure that the customer remains motivated to want to continue talking. For example, “I see“/ “Uh-huh“/ “That’s interesting” are great ways to achieve this. Nodding your head and taking written notes are also effective when demonstrating your interest.
Clarifying your understanding
Adopting a consultative approach means that it’s vital to fully appreciate your prospect’s requirements. Even if you think that your prospect has made them very clear, it’s good practice to summarise your understanding of them. For example: “So what you’re saying is (requirement).” “You obviously value (requirement) as being very important to you.” These summaries will strengthen your relationship and demonstrate a genuine desire to really understand what they want. Rephrase their main points at regular intervals and ‘play them back’ to them. This helps them see if they have said exactly what they wanted to say and to make sure you understand. Put their feelings into words. This will help them evaluate and perhaps modify their statement and it gives further evidence of your understanding.