I learned to listen as a sales professional. My first mentor said to me: “If you want to learn how to sell, you need to learn how to listen first. You should be listening twice as much as you’re talking.” And it’s true. Here’s why.
Let your clients guide your business
Before you launch any product or service you need to know there’s going to be a market for it. The best way to find that out is by talking to people and listening to what they’re saying to you. Get out there and talk to as many people who fit the profile of your ideal customer as possible. Dig deep into what they are looking for and what they think about your offering.
I value the opportunity to chat with people face to face at events, over a meal or on Skype very highly. There’s nothing like having a genuine conversation with someone and seeing where it leads.
One of the important things to remember in these situations though is to listen more and talk less. Now I’m a chatty bloke but I really focus on listening because that’s how I learn from the people I’m talking to. And it lets them know that I truly value their opinion.
My business has been shaped by my clients because I listen to them. I listen to their problems. I listen to where they want to get to. And then I go away and develop solutions for them. I don’t have any trouble selling because my community has told me what they want me to do for them.I learned to listen as a sales professional. My first mentor said to me: “If you want to learn how to sell, you need to learn how to listen first. You should be listening twice as much as you’re talking. Click To Tweet
Seek out opportunities to listen to people
Listening isn’t just something you do face to face, it can be done online. Ask questions on social media. Follow conversations people are having on your niche. People may well be talking about the need you are looking to service without mentioning you online so spend some time searching relevant hashtags and see what people are saying.
Again, it’s not about diving into the conversation. Look for common themes. The conversation on Twitter might be very different to Instagram or LinkedIn so make sure you validate what you’re hearing. You could do this by talking to people on your email list, direct messaging people on social media, or taking advantage of being in the room with people at events.
You could also ask people who engage with your content regularly to hop on a call with you. I’m sure they’d love the opportunity to talk with you. However, you do it, create opportunities to dig deeper and get to know what’s really going on in people’s lives. You will learn something new every time and build stronger relationships with people.
I send a survey out to my list each year. It’s not long. One email, a few questions, and it lets me know if I’m going in the right direction.
Make notes of what people are telling you
We’ve all been in that situation where we’ve got talking to somebody and the conversation is absolute gold, the value bombs keep coming. And then you walk away. You might be at a conference and you get chatting to somebody else, and before you know it, you’re trying to remember exactly what the person you were talking to originally said to you.
Always make a note. If you can’t do it during the conversation then make sure that when you walk away you have the opportunity to note it down.
This is important because not only do you need to listen to what people are telling you, you need to listen to the way they say it. What language do they use? What little details did they slip in there that you should pay attention to when you’re developing your offer. Who did they mention that they really rate at the moment and suggest you check out too?
You can then look at all your notes and spot patterns or see places where there is a gap in the market.
How listening helps with selling
By listening to your customers you are taking the guesswork out of selling. You know that you can create a high-value solution because you are developing exactly what people are looking for. You can also go back to people you have had a conversation with and beta test your ideas. If you’re solving their problem for them, they’ll be happy to help you.
When it comes to launching you already know you’ve developed something people want. You’ve been listening to your community and they value that you’ve put the time and effort into building that relationship and creating something just for them. They’re also invested in your success because their input has helped shape what you’re putting out. You’ve already sold it to them.
Chris founded Youpreneur® in 2015. He is a serial entrepreneur, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling books “Virtual Freedom” and “Rise of the Youpreneur”. He hosts our weekly podcast, Youpreneur.FM, as well as our annual conference, the Youpreneur Summit. Chris is based in Cambridge, UK.