Success in Sales

Salespeople: Here's How to Show Your Clients You're Listening

Salespeople: Here's How to Show Your Clients You're Listening

There are few constants in sales. Quotas change, customers’ needs shift, and what’s considered success can change from quarter to quarter.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any constants. Until the time that ChatGPT becomes self-aware and removes the need for us lowly humans to be a part of any transaction, sales will always be a profession centered around creating human connections.

As humans, we value — even favor — those who make us feel heard. When we can sense that someone is taking our needs seriously and is legitimately trying to help us find a way to solve a problem, we take a shine to them.

Making clients feel genuinely heard isn’t just a tenet of our methodology at SalesEthics, it’s plain and simple a skill that can take you far in any role — not just sales.

"... stay focused on your customer, and build real relationships with them, you’ll come out ahead in any sales environment." Tweet

But let’s get down to specifics. Let’s dive into what salespeople can do to make clients feel genuinely heard and how they can impact your bottom-line performance.

Take notes

You might have fantastic recollection, but, as the ancient Chinese proverb accurately puts it: “The faintest ink is greater than the best memory.”

Taking notes doesn’t just help you keep track of important details of what’s important to your client, it also shows you’re invested in the time you’re spending with them and that what they’re saying is resonating with you.

If you’re meeting via Zoom or another video chat service, do take time to ensure your keyboard isn’t being picked up by your microphone, as this can transform your diligent note taking into an annoyance really quickly.

When in person, be sure to stay engaged with your customer and not just have your face pointed toward your notepad. Too little interaction with your client can make it seem like your note taking is your primary task and not actually listening to them.

Lastly, it’s always a nice touch to ask: “Hey, would it be alright if I took notes?” 9 times out of 10, you’ll be met with an “Oh, absolutely,” but on the off chance the client doesn’t want certain thoughts committed to the record — for instance, they might just want to bounce ideas off of you — you can show them their preferences are heard, matter, and are followed.

Pause to paraphrase what they say

The goal of any meeting is to ensure that any new and useful information is gathered and put into action. But it’s not uncommon for a lot of that information to get lost in the din of conversation.

During your meeting, take small moments to pause and say something akin to: “I’m going to just take a moment and repeat back what you said to make sure I got everything correctly.”

That style of phrasing communicates a lot in a small package. It shows:

  • You care about the actual content of the meeting and what the client is trying to communicate or clarify.

  • You want to make sure you’re interpreting their needs correctly.

  • You care about actually hearing what’s important to them, not just what helps you move closer to a sale.

It’s a small step that can help you keep your notes in order, keeps the conversation focused on the client’s needs, and continually communicates your genuine intent to actively listen to them.

Silence (or turn off) phones and other distractions

Unless there’s emergency information or updates you’re absolutely needing to receive, there’s rarely a good reason for having your phone out during a client interaction.

While turning it completely off may not be necessary, at least setting it to where you’re sure it won’t ring/vibrate during the meeting is a great move. Many phones have “Do Not Disturb” settings and similar features to ensure you remain uninterrupted.

At the start of the meeting, taking a moment to state that you’re setting your phone to not disrupt the meeting is a brief — but very meaningful — action that communicates your time and attention is centered on them.

Follow up after the meeting

This step is super easy if you’ve taken notes. After the meeting, take about 10 - 15 minutes to type up an email that covers everything you covered.

Toward the end, but before your formal closing, include a list of action items that resulted from your conversation. If there were verbally agreed-upon timelines for said items — for instance, “Oh, yeah, I’ll get that to you Wednesday!” — be sure to put that down in more concrete terms.

This is a great move for anyone you’re working with, but it’s especially impactful when you’re working with more direct decision-makers within a company. To them, you’re reaffirming that you recognize the value of their time, and they will definitely appreciate any extra effort someone puts in to keep deliverables and schedules clearly defined.

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Conclusion: It’s All About the Golden Rule

At the end of the day, there’s no flashy trick or secret system that wins more sales. What wins sales is simply treating people as you’d like to be treated. It’s just the Golden Rule at work.

This is the cornerstone of our sales process here at SalesEthics and what we bake into every level of our proven training and coaching programs.

If you’re focused on authenticity, stay focused on your customer, and build real relationships with them, you’ll come out ahead in any sales environment.

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