The most important sales skill, which can be developed through sensitivity and training, is the ability to listen. Sounds easy, but a study conducted in the financial services industry found that in a typical sales call, the salesperson spoke a whopping 80% of the time.
Salespeople get pumped up, nervous and they want to make sure to get all the material covered. Trouble is, 80% is not collaboration . . . it’s domination . . . and customers do not like it. A well-trained listener can also pick up subtle emotional signals and buying is all about emotions.
There is an old saying in sales relative to a conversation with the customer: “Selling is like tennis . . . as long as the ball is in the other person’s court, you cannot lose.” The same goes for listening . . . encourage the client to do most of the talking and listen intently as he guides you towards the essence of his needs . . . and the sale.