Listen To What Your Prospect Is Really Saying

Sales SkillsAt Fast Slow Motion, we spend a lot of time with growth companies focusing on buyer behavior, sales processes, and buyer alignment. These are big, important things that are critical to achieving scale and growing revenue. However, there are also little sales skills that are important and can make a big difference.

In many growth companies, the people with sales responsibility are new sales reps or what I call “accidental salespeople” – entrepreneurs or professionals that find themselves in selling situations. This post provides a useful tip for these people and also serves as a reminder to those of us that have been practicing the sales craft for a long time.

Listening is a critical sales skill. Obviously, we listen to be sure we understand our prospect’s needs and desires so we can propose appropriate solutions, understand how they buy, and assess where they need help in their buying process. We also listen so we can gauge where the prospect is in regard to what we are offering and make adjustments so we can stay in sync with them while moving deals toward closure.

So here’s the listening tip – when you are talking to a prospect, tune in when they are making statements as opposed to asking questions. Statements often indicate an objection, but questions more likely indicate interest.

As an example, your prospect may state, “your price is too high.” This obviously indicates resistance to your pricing.  However, it really means you have not yet established enough value in your prospect’s mind to cover the cost of your offering. To move this deal forward,  you need to work on establishing value which means it may take some time before you can move this deal forward.

Alternatively, your prospect may say something like “can you work with us on rates so we can meet our budget?” In this example, you are being asked to help the prospect get past an issue – a clear request for help. That’s exactly where you want to be – helping a prospect through their buying process. There are proactive things you can do to move this deal forward immediately like offering a discount, extending payment terms, or bundling in some other products or services.

Questions from a prospect indicate interest which means you have a good chance of advancing your deal right away. When you get a challenging statement, know that your deal is probably not going to advance past its current stage before you do some more work to alleviate the objection. Level up your sales skills by simply listening to the way your prospect asks questions and makes statements in order to gather critical information and keep your deals on track.