You might have a protocol that you typically follow when you make a sales call. You might even have a checklist in front of you and are carefully ticking off each item as you cover it; make initial phone contact, assess the clients needs, suggest solution(s),… But your client might have already said SOLD and be waiting to sign a proposal and you missed it entirely because….you weren’t listening.
Frequently, when talking to the potential client for the first time, they will often tell you within the first few words of your call that they are ready to buy today! The art of listening is important in all relationships and this is very true in your relationship with your clients too. When you have them on the line, listen for phrases like:
“We’ve been looking for something just like this.”
“I was just telling my partner that we should contact you guys.”
“YES! I would love to talk with you about this.”
These are clear signs that the client is ready to purchase, but unfortunately, easy to miss if you weren’t listening for them.
Sometimes you can get so caught up in your process that opportunities fly by without you realizing it. I’m reminded of that scene in the movie, The Forty Year Old Virgin where Jonah Hill’s character wants to
buy those crazy disco boots with the plastic goldfish in the heels and Trish won’t sell them to him because she only sells things on E-bay. He says, “But I want to buy these boots right now.” And she won’t do it, because that’s not protocol. It’s not exactly the same since in this case she’s listening, but she’s still missing the point that the sale is right in front of her and she’s blowing it.
And Keep Listening
And aside from catching these important cues from your potential clients, any human on the planet responds well to sincerity. If you are really listening to your client and caring about actually addressing their concerns and meeting their needs, they will want to work with you over someone who just rolls over them in an attempt to make a sale. And you can certainly help your cause by demonstrating that you are listening and in fact, on the same page as them. Simply rephrase or restate the concern or need that they have expressed to you and maybe ask, “Am I understanding that correctly?” Then go on to propose what you can do to meet that need.