4 Habits that Supercharge your Active Listening Skills on B2B Appointment Setting Calls - SalesStaff - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Getting to the root of a prospect’s need on a B2B appointment setting call can be crucial. A rule of thumb when speaking to a prospect is to use the 80/20 listening rule. This communication rule dictates that you allow the prospect to speak 80% of the time while you speak about 20% of the time. Since you’ll spend majority of your time listening to the prospects for cues, it’s imperative that you use active listening skills so you can get a fuller understanding of your prospects’ needs.
Have you ever been speaking with someone and attempted to restate what you heard only to be told that was not what they were saying at all? There was a communication gap between what you heard and what the speaker said. This discrepancy in a conversation leads to frustration and in many cases may cost you the advancement with the prospect. Using active listening skills is one way to successfully prevent these discrepancies and missed opportunities.
Let’s discuss the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of developing active listening skills.
WHY should we develop active listening skills? Because we listen to others:
Research suggests that we remember 25-50% of what we hear. Without strong listening skills, you can only hope that the most important facts are captured in that 25-50%. You can improve the odds by developing active listening skills through practice.
Next let’s talk about HOW to develop active listening skills. Here are four key listening techniques to practice whenever you are speaking with a prospect whom has a B2B demand problem to improve your active listening abilities:
Pay Close Attention
While it may seem obvious, sometimes it’s important to make a conscience effort to block out any distractions. Listen closely with the intent of fully understanding what the prospect is saying and the meaning behind their words. Are they indirectly alluding to some challenge you might solve? Blink and you might miss that one tidbit that you need to show value. Don’t get distracted by what’s going on in the office next to you or by whatever’s on your screen at the moment. This is one I see all the time also… many inside sales reps get in a hole by thinking about their responses in advance – at the expense of listening to the prospect.
Use Words and Phrases of Acknowledgment
Let the prospect know they have your undivided attention by inserting confirming words like “okay” and “I understand” into the conversation. Unlike empty filler words (‘Umm’, ‘Uh’, ‘Like’), acknowledgment words guide the conversation along. In a real life meeting, you would acknowledge that you’re locked into the conversation with nonverbal cues, like head nods and eye contact. But on the phone, these words of acknowledgment take the place of nonverbal cues.
Feed the Prospects’ Words Back to Them
Never assume you know what the prospect meant. If you’re confused or need clarification, take a note and ask when they’ve completed their thought. “Mr. Prospect, you mentioned that technology integrations have historically been a problem for you. What exactly did you mean? Was there a time when an integration project fell flat?” Always begin with a quick recap of what the prospect has stated and end with a question.
Respond ‘In Kind’
What I mean by responding ‘in kind’ is that your responses should be precisely connected to the statements of the prospect. I’ve been on the other end of sales calls where the rep glosses over what I’ve said to start explaining benefits. Were you even listening to me? You should address the prospects’ main talking points with the intent to educate and inform.
Publish Date: January 20, 2016 5:00 AM
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