If you’re doing all the talking, you’re missing valuable information.
By Elaina Hundley
A commonly overlooked quality of being a successful salesperson is thoughtfulness. You can’t be thoughtful if you don’t listen to what your potential advertiser is saying or learning about the needs of their brand. The key to not only closing sales, but developing long-term, positive relationships with prospects is finding ways to demonstrate an understanding of a brand or company’s strategy. Understanding that and the pain points that may accompany it is easier said than done and requires a whole lot of listening.
Here are our 3 tips on active listening:
Get Them Talking
Use leading questions to promote conversation.
In order to listen, you have to get the other person talking. Half the time when a person is cold-called, they are eager to find a reason to end the call. But one way to get the conversation rolling is to ask leading questions. This works in a planned call too and gives you the opportunity to gain valuable information about how to best match that advertiser with a solution they are likely to purchase.
Keep Them Talking
Use industry knowledge to fuel discussion.
You’d be surprised how much information you can gain by starting a sales call with an open-ended discussion about industry topics that impact the advertiser. By saying something like: “so now that we’ve established your budget and goals, how is X (piece of legislation or new tax/tariff, etc.) impacting your business? We’ve heard so much about this lately!” With this move, you might be able to get that last piece of information you need or at least get the advertiser talking about something meaningful to them. When you demonstrate your own knowledge of the issue, this also shows the person that you know something about the market and can build their trust in your advice. Plus – depending on the pain point, you might have an opportunity that solves the problem.
Listen And Absorb The Information
Be quiet and pay attention – and be sure to take notes!
Remember that once you get a lead talking, it’s your turn to be quiet and listening. If they are talking, they are providing you with potentially useful information about their products and challenges—and you need to make sure you hear it and even write it down. This knowledge helps you provide thoughtful suggestions long-term and details about when a company is launching something new or making a major change give you great reasons to check in with them down the line. Finally, this information will help you strategize when you finalize your pitch to them, making sure it’s a program that fits their goals and budget.