Recently I was watching one of those Sunday Morning political shows. You know the type… there is the host and two distinguished guest both polar opposites in their point of view on the issue being focused on.
Of course the outcome is always predictable with each guest trying to shoehorn their talking points in the very limited air time they have. It deteriorates into the two of them trying to talk (or shout) over each other. Then add the host yelling over the top of them to try to gain control of the interview.
The lead me to consider the value of listening.
Most experienced medical device sales reps would tell you, “I am a very good listener and am always engaged with my customer”. This is likely true, at least on the surface. In my own experience I find that I will sometime drift to “Listening to respond”.
What I mean by this is often I find myself listening to the point that I start to formulate my response or my next question to direct the sales interview. In many instances missing a subtle point or gesture that might have helped me steer the interview.
As a Medical Device Sales Manager and coach I see this almost daily from the most seasoned of Med Device sales pros. After we leave the prospects office I might ask them about an issue the prospect raised, or why they lead the conversation a particular way. Their response tells me they totally missed the point (or opportunity…. Trust me if it was a big opportunity I would chime in and ask the question myself.
My point with all of this is it is real easy to fall into the habit of listening to respond versus being an “ACTIVE LISTENER”. So the question is, how do I correct this?
Well over the years I have handed out probably 50 copies of
“Stop Telling and Start Selling”
By Linda Richardson
This book is loaded with thoughts, examples and ideas for how to become a more productive sales person, simply by becoming an active listener. I often pick it up and review a chapter or two. Interestingly enough when I do, sometime during the next week or ten days I get a big order that I had been working on for months.
So ask yourself, “AM I AN ACTVE LISTENER?” You might be interested in your answer. If you are really daring ask the question to a spouse, partner or friend!