How 'active listening' can help in Sales?

It is a peculiar situation…most of the times, it requires us to only ‘listen’ in several business situations!

The generation next is confident, individualistic and does not entertain any encumbrance into their personal space. Most of the times, they do not like being told! The discussion is limited to ‘just sharing’ our ideas. In such a situation, the leadership style needs to be different where ‘listening’ plays a dominant role in our communication. It is not that only results matter….the methods are given so much importance unlike in the past when we were young. The solutions are already known by ‘them’ (read new generation) but we have to just highlight them! Freedom is required by them at any cost. Leadership has to be inspiring enough to make them follow our pathway. I have observed that the fine line between the boss and employee is fading and is not so apparent.

A efficient executive spends 23% of his time in reading and writing, 22% in talking and rest 55% in listening. There is more emphasis on ‘active listening’ and not just in hearing them out. Quite often, the solution is already hidden in the questions asked by them, if we can subject it to analysis. ‘Thinking’ is a continuous all time exercise to be practised and there is no percentage attached to it. Mostly, it has been observed, the Managing Director is restricting himself to active listening and waits for us to arrive at a solution ourselves. At times, he is just a catalyst in the process.

In the past, in the profession of Sales, the focus was in being highly affable talkative extrovert, and being self confident! But, in today’s times, empathy is playing a major role for being successful in sales. It is not just about highlighting the advantages over the competitor’s products or services. The new generation sales representative is empathic, suave and extremely poised to meet the opportunity in any situation. And this is happening at a very young age in several aspirants in the profession. Behaviour is playing a key factor in gaining trust of others and in forming quick relationships with ‘unknown’ acquaintances in our sales efforts. And it is not necessary to travel distances to meet prospective customers with tools as mobile phones, video conferencing gaining widespread acceptance. In such situations, behavioural and communicative skills play a dominant role to bring new relationships into the organisation or retaining old relationships.

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