If You’re Not Listening, You’re Not Growing

If you’re in sales, you eventually learn that listening to a prospective or existing customer is two-thirds of the transaction process.  Learn what the problem is first and then offer the appropriate solution.

Customers and prospects are always pleased when the sales person listens to them.  Listening avoids trying to fit the “square” solution into the “round” problem.  If you discover the solutions you have to offer do not address the problem, it means the prospect/business development process is flawed and requires examination.  Understanding the existing needs of prospects and customers allows the appropriate solution to be offered.  No one likes their time wasted. This holds true from the retail level all the way up to the C-suite (highest ranking executives in a business organization).

The value of external listening is self-evident. The value of internal listening, in my opinion, is not practiced or appreciated nearly enough. The reasons for this neglect run from the pressures of day-to-day operations to hearing about problems, and may be quite valid.  The bottom line of a business, however, does not care whether the reason is valid or not.

When I consulted at the corporate level, one of my tasks was to talk with all the relevant employees.  In actuality, I listened much more than I talked.  The result was that I was able to bring valuable information to management.  In many cases, they had some knowledge but not sufficient knowledge of the issues/opportunities.  In some cases, no knowledge at all.

If sales and management are in the listening business, the benefits flow to all areas of operation. What is the downside if your business takes the time to discover what prospects and customers are looking for and what frontline employees can tell you? After all, who doesn’t like to be listened to when they have something to say?

Written by Blog Contributor: Brad Lena