Your most powerful sales tool

[display_podcast]It’s funny how we find that some of our most powerful learning moments don’t come from hearing something new, but usually from looking at something we already know from a new angle.  Last week we had Genworth come out and do a training session for our team on Effective Networking and Selling Skills.  The presentation was really well done and interactive.  One of the things that we talked about is the skill of effective listening.  Unfortunately, while this is a skill most of us are familiar with, very few of us practice it well.  Make no mistake, it does take practice.  It takes a conscious effort to apply it.  Think about the last time you were at a sales presentation (yes, taking a mortgage application is a sales presentation, but that is another topic).  Typically in our business we want to tell our prospective client all the virtues of using a mortgage broker, why we’re better than the banks, etc. Think about that last conversation you had with your potential client.  If you are anything like me you were probably just waiting for a break in their stream of words so you could interject all of your wisdom on the subject of mortgages.  You probably dropped some jargon to show them how smart you are and how much of an expert you are in the area of mortgages. I know I find myself doing it all the time when I have a “solution”.  I want to jump right in and tell the person all about the “solution” and convince them that my “solution” is the right one for them.  I actually caught myself doing it in a sales presentation we had immediately following the training session! Maja Angelou passed away last week at the age of 86.  One of my favourite quotes of hers is this:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

So if you believe that concept to be true and you believe, as I do, that people buy based on emotion, then I want you to think about the potential impact of the scenario I outlined above.  In our eagerness to assist, we sometimes jump ahead and start talking before our prospect is finished or we simply endure their babble waiting for our turn to talk.  How does it make you feel when someone cuts you off in a conversation?  How does it make you feel when someone is clearly not actually listening and simply waiting for their turn to talk?  Yeah, it is not a great feeling at all. So how do we counter that?  Well, one of the things that I always talk about is the fact that learning is easy, doing is hard.  It is those that have the discipline to act that will get further ahead.  How does this statement relate to effective listening?  Simple.  Demonstrate that you have listened to your prospect.  Show them that you are engaged and that you actively care about what they have said.  You will be amazed at the impact this small act has on the sales process.  I will tell you a story about a client experience that I had that illustrates this. Client called because the RBC was “Screwing him on rate”, his words not mine.  Condition date was two days away.  We obtained a commitment within 24 hours, requested documentation from client who confirmed that he would send.  He advised that RBC had everything but that they were just “Screwing him over” and that he would send docs.  He was a little rough around the edges and he was “pissed”! I listened fully to his tale of woe and then used verbiage similar to “Joe I understand completely how your loyalty is being taken advantage of and it makes me sick that they are screwing you over.  You need to understand that they WILL match my rate if you give it to them.  I need you to give me a commitment that we will work together to prevent this from happening again. (emphatically)  If I lost every deal that the bank “matched” I would soon be out of business.  If I go out of business that means that the bank can continue on their merry way “screwing” you and the rest of the public because you will have no alternative.” So guess what happened with that transaction?  By the end of the conversation he was practically ‘high five’ing me through the phone with a “We’ll show them!” type attitude.  His bank matched.  We did the deal. So you can see that the most powerful sales tool you have in your arsenal may be your ears.

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