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The most important sales skill you can have

What’s the most attractive skill that a sales rep can possess?

Charisma, maybe? An ability to keep the conversation flowing and put people at ease? Or a knack for keeping the prospect informed and interested?

The top sales skill is actually a lot simpler, and everyone can learn it over time. You need to be able to listen.

While most sales reps are quick to talk about themselves and their company and their solutions, active listening is far more important. It builds the relationship, and makes the client feel that you have their best interests at heart.

Active listening helps in the following five ways.

1. Listening keeps the conversation flowing

A lecture does not make for a great conversation. It implies that you’re the expert and that they should listen to you – and people don’t like to be patronised.


Prospects will be much more responsive if you’re listening to them. Whether you’re discussing the product, or their personal interests, it creates a connection and sets the stage for follow-ups. Plus, it’s an opportunity for you to learn new information, so chances are you’ll enjoy it more!


2. It shows you care


Prospects don’t want to feel they’re being forced into buying a one-size-fits-all, generic solution. They want to see that you have their best interests at heart. If you are doing most of the speaking, it implies you’re just trying to make the sale.


On the other hand, if you’re listening and responding accordingly, you’ll get the opportunity to show that you’re there to help, and you’ll be become a trusted adviser, much more likely to get that order.


3. It keeps you in touch with the sale


Listening helps you with keeping the conversation relevant, in a couple of ways:

you can quickly identify bad leads, and spend your time on those who actually might buy.
you can monitor whether a promising prospect is currently unstable, and likely to change their mind or how much more convincing they need.


4. You can identify the prospect’s needs


The core element of any sale is need – we only ever buy when we feel we need the product or service. Only by addressing a need can we completely delight our customers and keep them coming back for more.


Without listening, there’s a danger we won’t be aware of these needs and won’t be able to tailor our solution to specifically what the prospect is after.


5. It builds a relationship


A good sales rep builds good client relationships. It’s a relationship that will win the prospects’ trust, and keep them coming back. They need to know you before they put their money in your hands.


Listening is key to any relationship and more so than ever in a seller’s relationship. Without it, you’re nothing more than an irritating cold caller.



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