The 4 stages of listening: how to make an effective sale

8th Apr 2017
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In order for a sales conversation to be effective, the salesperson should not only be a fabulous orator but also a patient listener. In earlier times, not much importance was given to listening to what potential customers have to say. Salespeople used to yap on about the benefits and advantages of the products they were selling and that used to be the main method of making a sale. However, times are changing and sales strategies are evolving too. Nowadays, salespeople listen to what their customers have to say and then they solve their problems by fulfilling their needs. There are four stages for understanding how an individual is listening to you. We've listed them below to help you identify what type of listener each customer is.

Image : shutterstock

Image : shutterstock

Stage one: taking notes

When your prospect is constantly writing what you are saying, they are most probably listening only to take notes and relay the information to someone else. If you want them to actually understand what you're telling them, you need to ask them questions and involve them in a conversation. Transform your audience from a writer to a thinker by engaging them in a dialogue about your product or service.

Stage two: introspection

When your prospect is listening to and absorbing the information you're providing, they've reached the point of introspection. You'll know your audience has reached this stage when they begin to ask questions and clarify details about your product or service. It is generally during this phase of listening that they decide whether the information you're providing is worth investing more energy in. It is crucial to ask the right questions to help them with their decision-making process.

Stage three: evaluation

At this stage, your audience will be interested to know how your product will fit in their world. If you're not sure whether your prospect has reached this stage, evaluate who's asking more questions — you or them. When your prospect starts asking questions beyond the features of your product, you know they are closer to taking action. When you've got your audience to listen till this stage, you're truly engaging in a dialogue.

Stage four action

This is the final stage of listening and by this stage your audience will end up taking some action. How well you've connected with your audience so far and how you put forth your request to them to try your product will determine whether you make a successful sale. Your main goal at this stage should be to get an answer in your favour. Start by asking them a series of questions like whether they liked your product and what feature they liked best. Once you've got a yes to a majority of your questions, go in for the final dive.

Make note of the above-mentioned stages to learn how to communicate more effectively in sales conversations. Once you've understood how to move your audience closer to the last stage, you'll ace making a sale like never before.

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