It’s generally assumed that sales specialists need to be able to speak in a convincing manner, but succeeding in this line of work isn’t just about having the gift of the gab – other specific skills are required.
As well as being capable of presenting information effectively, a truly great sales professional has to be a good listener. In fact, excellent listening skills are arguably one of the most important traits that face-to-face customer acquisition specialists can possess.
Establishing a rapport with potential customers
One of the things that helps to set face-to-face sales apart from many other forms of marketing is the fact that it gives companies the chance to establish a rapport with their target audience and to present highly tailored information that is relevant to the precise needs and preferences of individual consumers.
Many of us are turned off by the hard sell. Not only is being bombarded with information and put on the spot to make purchasing decisions off-putting to potential customers, it is also a very impersonal and ineffective approach to sales and marketing.
In contrast, people are much more likely to want to buy products or services if they are engaged in meaningful two-way conversations with the sales specialists who are promoting them. Here at Appco Group, a subsidiary of the Cobra Group, we understand the importance of positive, respectful interactions, which is why we developed the Human Commercial™.
Using this approach, the brand ambassadors in our network actively listen to people’s questions and comments to develop an understanding of their specific needs and circumstances. By doing this, they can tailor their messages to suit each person they speak to and leave a positive and lasting impression of the brand they are representing.
Using feedback to refine marketing messages
Another benefit of listening carefully to what potential customers have to say is that it allows sales experts and the companies they represent to adapt and refine their marketing messages.
By taking people’s comments on board, salespeople can identify any aspects of their own messages that may need to be altered or improved. They can also provide the company they’re representing with invaluable, first-hand consumer feedback, enabling it to tailor its products or services in line with people’s needs and expectations.
In effect, a ‘listening-focussed’ approach to selling can double up as a cost-effective and efficient form of market research. The fact is, sales is not simply about extolling the virtues of products or services. Rather, it is about engaging in meaningful dialogue with prospective customers – answering any questions they may have and building trust – so that they can create a connection with the brand. The most skilled salespeople are well aware of this and go out of their way to listen carefully to what consumers have to say.