Most of us have been at a lunch with our friends where everyone is trying to get a statement in, or tell a story over the others sitting at the table. Nobody is quite listening to anyone, and instead, they are figuring out when and how they will next get the floor again to speak. It’s annoying and frustrating to sit through these lunches. Recently, I’ve tried a new tactic – instead of trying to interject in the conversation with my hilarious (at least I hope) story, I sit back and listen to my friends. I give them my full attention, ask questions, and react to their stories. In doing this, I’ve noticed that it makes for a more interesting conversation, and in return, my friends actually become eager to hear what I have to say.
This may seem like common sense, and many of us already do this without even realizing. What made me more aware of this dynamic was my exposure to the sales world these past couple of months. As someone with no background in sales, I had several stereotypes and associations about selling before starting my internship. I felt that sellers were people who talked too much, were too pushy, and didn’t actually listen to what buyers had to say.
In my time at Funnel Clarity, my perspective on sales has changed drastically. I’ve learned how much scientific research plays a role in defining the most effective sales methods. I’ve also learned how much preparation and planning goes into a sales call, and how the best sellers prioritize listening.
In personal interactions, people love to share information and have other people listen to them – it makes them feel important. It comes naturally for the listener to show their support for the speaker with verbal affirmation and balanced conversation. However, when this happens in the professional world, it can be another story. In an effort to be helpful, sellers often fail to listen to or talk over a buyer. It’s a function of being excited about their products, but it could potentially lose a client or a deal.
The psychology behind these frustrations has been studied, and Funnel Clarity has applied this research to the field of sales. I’ve listened first-hand to our sellers apply these techniques and strategies on a sales call. It’s intriguing to see how a buyer lights up when the seller simply listens and asks them thoughtful questions.
I’ve been surprised not only by the level of science applied to the sales process, but also the extensive behind-the-scenes work that goes into prospecting and finding the right contact. Being a good listener when you reach out to someone for the first time is no easy task – why would they start talking about their situation to a stranger? If you are sufficiently prepared for the call, “Hi, my name is Claudia Vickrey and I work at Funnel Clarity…” might be the extent of you talking about yourself. You may cite important information about your contact, like a mutual connection or a recent article they published. While it may only take several minutes to uncover this information, mentioning these types of things on a sales call can make the difference in actually sparking a dialogue with the buyer.
Some of these communication examples seem like common sense, but they don’t come so naturally in sales. It is critical to be aware of these skills and use them to have an effective sales team. Overall, I have learned that sales, if it is done right, is much more intricate, scientific, and strategic than I initially thought. With the right training, a sales call can be as pleasant and natural as a conversation at lunch with your friends – when they’re listening to you.