Finishing Touches, V3I3

Are You Really Listening to Your Customers?

Have you ever been around someone that was constantly talking about themselves, and you couldn’t get a word in to save your life? I mean, they kept on talking and talking while you were literally stuck in a one-way conversation that seemed to never end.

I’ve been in those types of conversations, and I can tell you, when it comes to sales, it’s all about listening to your prospects and asking the right questions. It is extremely important to get your prospects talking about themselves. Studies have shown that people love to talk about themselves, their families, their jobs, their hobbies, etc.

I learned this important lesson early on from one of my mentors who observed me while selling sheds at the Kentucky State Fair in the late 1990s. After watching me fail miserably with potential prospects, my mentor pulled me aside and said, “Charles, you may want to start asking questions about them and why they need a shed and truly listen to their needs, rather than just trying to sell them something.”

That conversation has always stuck with me.

My mentor, Ed Abell, taught me that questions are the answer, and that has proven invaluable to my selling career.

The main question I always ask is “What are you planning on storing in your new shed?” I’ve asked this question many times in many ways.

Other questions include “What do you do for a living?” “How did you achieve that position with your company?”

“How many kids do you have?”

There are literally hundreds of similar questions that you can ask to get your prospect talking about themselves. The real goal is to find their needs and help them.

A few years ago, I met with a man who was looking for multiple storage sheds for his many business locations. He happened to be a very successful businessman, and to tell you the truth, I was a little intimidated to sit down with him to discuss his project. We went into his office and soon into the conversation I asked him, “How did you build such a successful business?” That question took him an hour to answer.

He told me how he came from a meager upbringing, going to work in a restaurant at a young age, then going off to college where he paid his own way. After he graduated, he joined a company and worked his way through the ranks, eventually becoming CEO, and then buying the company.

I just listened intently to the man, and he got emotional after telling me his story. As I was leaving, he thanked me for coming by and for taking the time to listen to his story. I felt as if I had developed a strong rapport with him, and I did in fact win his business a few days later. I am absolutely positive that he gave me the order because I listened to his story and was totally in tune with what he wanted.

I’ve learned that all my prospects have a unique story that they want to tell me. Over the years, I have learned that if I ask the right questions, and sincerely listen to the answer, I can make a connection with my prospect.

This emotional connection helps me start a strong, lasting relationship, which in the long run will result in more sales for me as well as you.
We have two ears and only one mouth for a reason.


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