Listening and good salesmanship go hand in hand. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I can’t stress enough how much this is true.
When entering a sales scenario, the first thing I do is breath deeply, put myself into a comfortable, relaxed state of emotions, and simply be the sound board for the other person once the introductions are over with.
This goes for both selling in retail (your store or booth) and for wholesale.
It goes without saying that the ability to listen well far surpasses only the clutches of business…it is vital to for the success of all human interaction. Without listening, there would be chaos, and we have all seen that first hand on the news from time to time.
If you feel like you are flopping on your sales calls, or don’t really know what to talk about…try to focus on the other person and listen.
Don’t even bring up your product at first! Ask questions.
- How are you doing today?
- (If an employee) How long have you worked at ______?
- (If the owner) When did you open your store?
- What is your favorite product that you guys carry?
Focus On the Other Person
Did you know as many as seventy five percent of all top salespeople in the United States are defined as introverts on psychological tests? Did you also know that sales is still the largest, single, identifiable occupational group in the United States with over 15 million people in the industry? Sales are what moves and shakes industries…so it follows that more than a few are actually introverts.
I discovered the statistics above while writing my book, How to Wholesale Your Handcrafted Soap. I was shocked at the number of people in sales, especially when I found out that just like myself, many are introverted and not prone to be the ones doing all of the talking.
Don’t be fooled by the idea that you have to be an extrovert, or have the “gift of gab” to be good at sales. No, no, no. If we start thinking this way, we start to use this as an excuse, and successful entrepreneurs in the handcrafted soap and bodycare industry do not let excuses cross the corners of their mouths.
Great salespeople would much rather listen than talk. They are very interested in the thoughts and feelings of other people and they are quite comfortable sitting and listening to their prospects. They would much rather listen than talk in a sales situation. Poor salespeople dominate the talking, but top salespeople dominate the listening.
When a salesperson develops a reputation for being a great listener, prospects and customers feel comfortable in his/her presence. This, quite simply, leads to good sales and good karma.
The Mouth-to-Ear Ratio
During a sales pitch, use your mouth at around 30% and your ears at around 70%…and make sure you continue this process after the initial sale…keep your ears open after you have landed the customer.
Resolve yourself to listen before you talk today. See what happens.
Thank you for your article. As an introvert myself and selling handmade soaps, I find your post very timely and encouraging. Some friends are telling me I should be more talkative when I’m at a booth selling soaps which I find very intimidating but you have just given me a much needed advice on how I should sell. More power to you!
This is a great piece of advice. We do try to listen carefully. Our previous client requested custom sized soaps, and with modified packaging. We did everything he required, and we are now working with him on the long term.
I live in Venezuela and I bear in mind all your advices! Thank You!