LISTENING: Makes the Customer feel heard beyond doubt

LISTENING: Makes the Customer feel heard beyond doubt

Customer Relationship Manager Venu lowered his voice to a whisper “What do we say now?”

Suresh, Service Manager, who was with him on this call, smiled and said nothing. Overhead, in the socially distanced conference room piped music played strains of sitar. A low murmur of voices wafted in from a small number of staff working from office

“What will we talk, once the meeting is on?”

“Nothing” said Suresh

“What do you mean, Suresh? How can you be so cool? This was a major supply chain slip up, that too after the crisis. I’m worried sick that the Customer’s procurement chief will jump out of the laptop screen to chew us up!”

“Hold your horses Venu. After years of service activity, I can tell you this. We will just listen first. Then we will know what to say. We will tell him what went wrong. He will understand. Ears get better results than mouths in these situations”

“May be true for service, but how about sales?” asked Venu

“I was in sales for a long time and that’s how I got picked to head service support. And here’s the thing. Whatever you want to achieve with your Customer call - please the Customer, make a closure or seed a relationship for future business - you can do all of that and more if you simply listen".

Venu had a lingering question “Does this work in all situations?”

“Oh, Yes! Here is the rule that works everywhere in Sales and Service - Listen twice as much as you speak”

Sales Maestros know that listening is a cherished sales behaviour and a prized skill. They are aware that listening works even you don’t understand the language spoken. That listening doesn’t demand any expertise. That willingness and understanding are all that’s required. That listening cools rising tempers, smoothens frayed nerves, cements relationships and yes, wins deals too.

They acquire knowledge and perspective just by listening more than those who are given to dominating conversations. They listen with all their being, remaining ‘present’ throughout the conversation. It hardly matters to them whether it’s a virtual meeting or a conference call or a face to face with the Customer. They are ‘present’ all the time, with such intensity, the Customer can see it, feel it, even on phone calls and mails.

Here is a Sales Maestro's checklist of questions to regularly self-assess their listening skills. They ask themselves:

Do I -

  1. Make assumptions about the person I’m listening to?
  2. Have prejudices (may be occasional) about this person?
  3. Find myself inwardly criticizing/commenting on what the other person has to say?
  4. Feel compelled to prove my point (especially when the other person is wrong on facts or ideas)?
  5. At times become ‘hyper’ (over stimulated/over enthusiastic)?
  6. Often find myself having something else on my mind?
  7. Become too busy to listen, paying attention to my mobile, laptop, watch, when someone is talking to me?
  8. Feel too tired to listen?
  9. Find people are boring, repetitive and feel tuned out due to lack of interest?
  10. Easily get impatient?
  11. Nurse an ego, though not consciously?
  12. Day dream ?

A ‘No’ to each of these questions gets a positive score. Sales Maestros strive and maintain a score of 10 and above. If they can listen, you can too! How good are you at listening? How can you get better? Try answering the 12 point checklist above.

Action Question:  What are your barriers to ‘listening’? How can you consciously overcome them in your next call – physical/phone/virtual?

Related Reading: Mercuri Insight Document on “Effective Sales Communication – 5 Stages and 7 Traps”

About the series: This is the 33rd in a series of 100 Posts that purport to build your #Sales Resilience.. as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.


32.STRATEGIC: Presents the bigger picture

If you cannot see what the #CEO is seeing, you can never show him what he wants to see. Up there at 30,000 feet this planet looks very different. So does business from the corner room. In the world of large deals, building sales resilience is all about getting better at 'selling to the top'. How ?

September 04, 2020Read more


34.PLAYFUL: Brings a light hearted approach to create delightful purchase experiences

Why serious Sales Achievers are not always so serious?

September 04, 2020Read more