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Have you ever been on the receiving end of being ignored in a conversation?
Like the other person is “conversing ” with you. But they just keep talking about themselves. With every story you tell they have a mirroring story of how that same thing happened to them.
“So we were skiing in Aspen last week and…”

***INTERRUPTION***

“OH!! I love Aspen – my friend and I are there every Feb. Did you do the bowls there? The bowls are WILD… This one time I was…”
You get the idea. No one likes that guy.
What we want to do is learn how to LISTEN more than we talk on a sales call. But it’s not about passive listening… that gets you talked over. It’s about Active Listening.

See when you’re on a call you have three main objectives:

  1. You want to be invested in the success of every prospect you serve.
  2. You fully understand their problem.
  3. You want to genuinely care about their wellbeing… which will give you the moral authority to challenge them to be the type of person it takes to achieve those goals.
Really, really simple.

The better listener you are, the more the prospect is convinced that you care about them. The more sales you will make – hands down.

So let’s dive in to how to achieve those goals through Active Listening.

This article is inspired by and most of this next section is pulled word for word from a training one of our top Account Executives – Kyle Pruzina did.  I loved it so much, I wanted to share it here with you.
We’re gonna start out with a good old fashioned acronym for you guys who loves acronyms?

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H.U.M.A.N.

H = HEAR

You’ll see a lot of this in a lot of the trainings that we do. This is really simple – people need to feel like you are actually paying attention.
If you want to know the most practical way to do this – Mute your microphone.
Walk through this with me… You just started the sales call. You just did your greeting. Now it’s their turn to “take the mic.”
Next – Mute your mic and let them talk.
Let ’em go. Because what they’re about to do is give you the ammo that you need to close a deal. They will give it to you. I promise you just have to set ’em up so that they feel safe to give it to you.
Muting the mic also eliminates the constant “uh-huhs” and “okays” and “oh yeah?” that tend to slip out. Which are not necessary. You’re not having coffee with these people. You’re trying to diagnose their main problem so you can help them solve it.
We’re not trying to be their best friend here. So mute the microphone. Let them talk. BUT, and this is going to sound like a contradiction, don’t be afraid to interrupt.

If there’s a time in the call where you need to interrupt, do it. But it’s important that you do it in such a way that it makes them feel like you care.

And I’ll just go ahead and say this right now… if you don’t take away anything else from this article take away that – they have to feel like you actually care. How do we accomplish that? By actually caring.

If you don’t, they’ll feel it.
H.U.M.A.N

U = UNDERSTAND

First we wanna hear next we want to understand. And it’s not enough to understand. It’s actually more important to make sure they KNOW you understand that’s the whole point of this next part.
As soon as we feel like they have finished what they have say, and we have identified the problem, we want to transition by saying something like this:
“Nice, gotcha. Ok cool. Makes sense.”
Pause.
“So it sounds to me like…” then summarize using some of the same language that they used, but do not repeat it word for word. You don’t just wanna repeat it back like a robot.
Summarize some of the things in a fresh way.
And here’s the important thing – If possible, reveal a new problem that was implied by their situation – which revolves around mindset.
We’re the doctor. We’re diagnosing, we’re figuring out where the pain is. That’s what we’re figuring out right now.
H.U.M.A.N

M = MIDIGATE

We’ve just summed up their problem. We’ve put it at least halfway or more back in their court.
They understand that we understand the problem.
They are aware of the choices that got them here.
Now we’re on the same page. Let’s figure it out.
IMPORTANT: We have to eliminate opportunities for outsourcing responsibility. If you can’t get past this point, you will not close a sale. Do not move on to an offer if you don’t successfully do this portion right here.
Here’s a tactical example for how to get through the “midigate” section of the call:
“Okay, awesome. So it sounds to me like there were some unexpected variables thrown your way (give those examples) – do you think there’s a chance that if you would’ve done things differently, played your cards differently – Me and you might not actually be on a call right now?”
What we’re doing is we’re opening up.
They have to take full responsibility and remove all blame from external causes and realize that it’s on them to fix this.
Now we’re gonna work collaboratively to fix that issue, but not before.
H.U.M.A.N

A = Affirm

Next, affirm. This is important. The way that we affirm where they’re at is we deploy empathy and take a moment to focus on feelings rather than logistics.
The temptation is problem solve. To just jump straight into logistics, roll the sleeves up, like get in there and like try to fix it.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of trying to fix it too early.
Because until they want you to fix it, it ain’t gonna work. So what we have do is deploy empathy. 
For example:
“…Gotcha. I can only imagine that if I was in your exact situation, I’d want that exact same thing. Okay. And it’s, if we’re being real, it’s probably time you had that for yourself. I agree. And honestly you should probably have that in your life by now. Agree? Cool.”
We’re widening the gap here. They know that we know that there’s something missing and if they don’t fix it, they don’t get what they want really easy.
Another thing that I typically deploy here – Honestly, most people stay in that place and never correct it, but it sounds to me like you’re actually somebody who wants to leave that behind start the next chapter. Right?”
That’s an easy one. Of course. They’re going want us to start that next chapter. But what we’ve done is we’ve highlighted is the problem that has kept them stuck is a mental game. We’re shutting all the doors. It is their issue that has kept them stuck.
And without the right lifeboat, they’re gonna be stuck stranded on that rooftop forever. That’s the point that we need to get to. Once they are there, you HAVE to deploy some empathy. Let them know you care… by actually caring

COMMITMENT TO ACTION

Once we’ve landing here, we want to end with a commitment to action. We’re not just here to like kumbaya out on the rooftop and leave them stuck. That’s not gonna help them. So we need to get a commitment to action.
That’s a tie down.
We need to get a commitment to act now.
For example: “So if you had those things in place and we could actually together, that would make you feel a lot more _____, which is really what you’re looking for, right?”
Yes. All right.
Take a moment to focus on feeling.
H.U.M.A.N

N = Non-Negotiable

Before we move on, we need to make sure this is something worth solving, right? This will focus in on the pain point of greatest magnitude.
By this point, you’re, you know, 5, 10, 15, 30 minutes in to the sales call. You’re getting to that point where you have enough in the tank where you need to move on. BUT if you do not achieve this, you’re going to be dealing with this objection after the offer.
And that’s a lot more messy because now they feel like you’re trying sell them and they’re probably gonna slip away.
So easier way to do it, handle it beforehand when you’ve got the greatest amount of trust and rapport built with this person and you’re leading them and they are right there with you. This is the best point before the offer to make sure they agree that this is a non-negotiable problem that is not going away unless they take action.
Here’s how to do it:
Give them two choices…
So the first choice that you want to give them is in absolute crystal clear alignment with their vision. And the second one is way out of alignment. Don’t get too crazy with the exaggeration, because it will feel sales-y and they will back away. But you wanna make sure it’s definitely out of their alignment. It not a good option.
Example:So is this something worth correcting immediately in the most effective way for you guys? Or is this something that you and your partner are thinking about actually putting on the back burner for now?”
What did we do there? See how normal it sounds? Unlike most sales people who would say: “So – are you ready to achieve your wildest dreams and make $10million this month? Or are you just… ready to die? “
Don’t be extreme and annoying. Be normal like if you’re talking to your cousin in the kitchen, you guys are like talking over a couple of beers.
The most important thing is that the first option as totally in alignment. And the second option as out of alignment, make sure that both of them are realistic so that they don’t feel threatened to grab onto the right rope.
You’re throwing, them a rope. You want to make sure that they trust you to pull them up if they grab onto that rope.
And once they say yes, you can move on. But sometimes, I like to throw like a “cool, are you sure? Are sure that that’s the honest truth, because if not like there’s a few other ways we can go here. I just wanna hear it from you.”
 
You make it totally safe for them to grab the rope.

SERVE FIRST

Serve first and the sale will be a byproduct.
Make the sale byproduct, not the goal, make the goal, serving the person. People are gonna feel more, heard, more understood. And honestly it’s going to make YOU a better person.
This job does not have to burn you out. It can actually give you energy. You can go home feeling like: We just closed a lot of deals today and we served a lot of people.
I want you to have both of those things and that’s what our whole team here wants to have for you.

If you’re a sales pro – and you want to grow your skills, build your network, increase your close percentage, and get access to some of the best trainers in the world – use this link, watch the free training. If you enjoyed this, this training is going to be every more helpful.

(Active Listening Training from Kyle Pruzina – Account Executive for The Sales Mentor)

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