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Stop talking, start listening

Sit up and listen! Research reveals sales people that don’t listen are missing out on deals

  • Research reveals 61% of customers didn’t feel they were paid adequate attention by the last sales person they spoke with
  • Talking at the customer is a common pitfall in sales
  • Listening to a customer is the key to conversions and making hard sales

A recent study conducted by global skills development company, Huthwaite International, has revealed that a massive 85% of individuals believe that they should be listened to carefully by salespeople to ensure their specific requirements and needs are met. However, when questioned, only 39% of these felt like they were paid the adequate amount of attention the last time they made a substantial purchase.

And, when it comes to the actual questioning by sales staff, it transpires that 61% of those investigated believe polite enquiry is an essential part of the purchasing process – as it makes them confident that they will acquire what they really need. Why is it then that only 25% of us believe we’ve been quizzed enough before we make a significant purchase?

The root of the issue appears to lie in the all-too-common sales attitude that involves a lot of talking at the customer but not very much listing to the customer. This can result in an overwhelmingly pushy demeanour from sales individuals, as Chief Executive at Huthwaite International, Tony Hughes, explains: “Sellers must take care not to get caught up in the excitement of talking about the bells and whistles their product or service may have – which, if irrelevant, will be ignored at best and at worst will irritate a potential buyer, lose a potential sale and have a negative impact on the brand and the bottom line.”

When it comes to the overall attitude of salespeople, Hughes believes that they need to be more astute when it comes to ascertaining what the customer wants from them: “It seems salespeople are getting a ‘could do better’ score on their report card from buyers. If salespeople aren’t listening, it usually means they’re talking. There’s a real danger in this because it means a missed opportunity to discover how they could help the customer.”

The overall message presides that salespeople are regularly falling short of customer expectations and failing to measure up to their requirements, due to the fact that they are not connecting with the customer to ascertain what they really want and need.

This article was first published here by the Institute of Sales Management.

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Further reading

The changing face of B2B selling – Why SPIN® is more crucial than ever
By Tony Hughes | March 14, 2018

Digitisation is transforming the sales and marketing relationship – are you ready?
By Karen Woodhead | March 22, 2017

What makes a successful seller in the digital age?
By Karen Woodhead | March 28, 2018