Sales Training Tip: Listen, Understand, Solve

Ben Lai

Transcript: Hi, it’s Ben Lai from Sales Ethos. Today’s topic is listen, understand, then solve. Sales people have for too long been considered people who have the gift of the gab. In order to be effective in sales you have to talk well, and that is important, but it is certainly not the most important part of the sales profession, at least not in today’s day and age. Nowadays, we have to be professional listeners. We have to be professional questioners, we have to be able to understand people’s situations before we go and try solving it.

Just as a quick side note, this advice will help you in all of your relationships. Have you ever been in a situation where you’re sharing about your personal life with someone? You’ve got a problem, maybe in your relationship or you’re speaking to your spouse, you’re talking about a problem that you’ve got. Then they go into problem solving mode. They try to think of all the solutions that you can possibly use to solve that problem when all you really wanted to do was to vent your frustrations with that problem. You weren’t looking for solutions.

In the same way, this is useful advice for relationships but it’s also useful in sales situations. Too many sales people will just jump the gun. As soon as they hear the client say something that they have a problem with. They go in and say, “Yes, our product can solve that problem.” Without actually going into understand what’s going on and what the consequences are and how important it is.

Listen, Understand, Solve Tip #1: Hold off Talking About the Product

Here are my three tips to help you to do this more effectively. First of all, we need to hold off talking about our product as much as possible. One of the things that I absolutely hate when it comes to people approaching me to sell their products is that they’re very product centric. They’ll send me a message on LinkedIn. They’ll say, Hi, Ben, I hope you’re well. We provide this X Y Z services.

Same thing with telephone calls, any sales approach, as soon as they start talking about the product, I get automatically switched off because I know that they’re being self-centric. As much as possible, you might need to give some sort of overview as to what your company does but… Say you’re calling a company for the first time, please don’t open with, “We are the leading manufacturer of widgets.” or whatever it is that you provide.

Start off with something that is relevant to the person and something they would be interested in. In one of my previous blogs, I was talking about being valuable. On the first call, just bring up something that would be interesting and valuable to them. Don’t talk about the products unless they asked specifically, “What do you do?” In which case you give a brief overview, and then refocus the conversation back on to the client. Make it as client centric as possible.

Listen, Understand, Solve Tip #2: Understand the Problem

The next thing that you can do to make sure you’re not trying to solve problems before you understand them, is to make sure you ask a lot of well prepared questions. Think in advance of all of the major considerations your client will need in order to make an informed decision. Once you ask these questions, ask follow up questions. Make sure you’re practising active listening where you repeat back to the person what you understand of their situation. Make sure that you have consensus before you go to the next stage of providing the cure, which is the third tip.

Listen, Understand, Solve Tip #3: Solve the Problem

Once you fully understand the person’s situation, the circumstances surrounding it and the major consequences, then you can offer the cure. It sounds like a doctor diagnosing a disease first before suggesting some sort of treatment. In the same way, you need to think of yourself like a doctor in selling. Make sure that you fully understand the situation and then only offer the cure, which is the third step. Listen, understand, and then solve.

Wrap Up

To wrap up, if you are an entrepreneur or a sales manager, and you’re looking for ways to improve your sales, feel free to contact me via the details below for a complimentary sales consultation. I’ll promise you that I am going to listen very intently to properly understand your situation before I go about recommending my services or any other solution. Don’t forget to like and subscribe and remember that integrity plus skills equals success.

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Sales Ethos is the only provider of sales training for introverts. We also provide sales coaching, sales process consulting, and sales training in Melbourne & Adelaide.

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