In sales it is a necessity to have strong listening skills.  Especially when it comes to objection handling.

Throughout the course of a sale you should be constantly asking questions to get a better understanding of what your prospective client needs, or wants, from you.

Asking questions is the easy part, however.  Listening is where most people drop the ball in a sale.  You have to let your client finish talking the whole while listening intently with genuine interest.

Make sure your next question or statement is related to what the consumer just said.  Remember it's not enough to just listen, you have to be an empathetic listener as well.

The following are 10 tips to becoming an empathetic listener:

1.  Practice saying, "Take your time, I'm listening." and really mean it.

2.  Set aside your own agenda.

3.  Be available and receptive emotionally as well as through body language.

4.  Try to appreciate the other person's point of view.

5.  Listen without being in a hurry to take over.

6.  Try to imagine yourself in the other's place; feel what the speaker feels.

7.  Help draw out thought and feeling by asking questions.

8.  Have the speaker elaborate for further understanding.

9.  Say, "Let me make sure I understand," and then restate the issue.

10.  Be sensitive to the speaker's feelings.

Being an empathetic listener will help your closing ratios tremendously because the customer will feel you understand their needs and have their best interests in mind.  For more on objection handling please refer to our SalesDogs Training School Kit.
At SalesPartners we highly recommend that you get
involved with local networking groups to help expand your business.   Networking group and local chamber lunches, dinners and events can greatly increase the number of referrals that you receive on a regular basis.   The following are basic networking tips that will help you maximize the efficiency of your networking experience:  
  • Don't blanket the event with business cards.  Each time you go to an event you want to make at the most 6 quality contacts.  The more time you spend with one person the more likely it is that they will become a client.
  • Don't say what you do until asked.  You should be more interested in the person you are talking to than your own business.  If you do this the person with whom you are talking will feel important to you.  We call this technique entering the client's world.  The unwritten rule of reciprocity states that if you ask someone what they do for a living they will return the favor.
  • Don't give a card until asked.  If you shove a card in someone's face it is likely to end up in their database of leads.  If you are looking for clients (rather than becoming one) you need the people you meet to want a business card.  Remember at these events you should spend 90% of your time talking about the people you meet and 10% on you and your business.  Again utilize the law of reciprocity - if you want someone to ask you for your business card, ask for theirs.
  • Focus on what makes you different.  When you do get a chance to talk about your business focus on the qualities that set you apart from your competitors.  Make sure to back your pitch with statistics.  Be concise, so that they know exactly what you do and more importantly what you can do for them.
The following are five questions that will help you get into your potential client's world.   
  1. What do you do?
  2. How did you get into that?
  3. What do you like most about it?
  4. How did you find out about this event?
  5. What other events do you go to?
Use these questions to get the ball rolling.  The rest is up to you.  Good luck.
Great leaders are people that are able to influence many different types of people.  If you want to hold somebody's attention and inspire them to help you, then you need to earn their respect.

Whether you are a manager, teacher or salesperson you need to know the fundamentals of great leadership in order to be successful.

Below are the 3 ingredients that make a leader highly influential:

1.  Enter their world -
  • Speak and lead in their language
  • Always check in with them as people before instructing them
  • Ask about their lives
  • Tell them what you love about their work and why you appreciate them
  • Ask for their input
  • Give them a partnership role
  • Use their ideas
2.  Earn the right

  • Build a relationship with trust and partnership
  • Listen
  • Teambuild
  • Walk your talk
  • Share who you are with them
  • Find out who they are as a person
  • Share personal goals
  • Trust them and earn their trust
3.  Tap their WIIFM (What's in it for me?)
  • Give your request some meaning and significance in their world
  • Give them a reason to WANT to do it themselves - not just for you
  • Ask yourself "What's going on in this person's world right now?"  and start the conversation from that point
  • Share your perspective, but ask from their perspective
  • Create and opening for success for them within your request
 Just remember that if you want your employees, students or clients to be willing to help you, then you must earn their respect, and the best way to do that is to pay them respect first.

For much more detail on influence and great leadership please refer to our High Impact Training & Presentations training kit.

We often address the topics of objection handling, and finding your target market in order to increase your success in first-time sales, however, repeat customers should be a huge priority for your business especially in a recession.

The trick to creating repeat customers is simply:  keeping your promises, or following up.

If you look at the sales process as a whole the first step is to make a promise to a customer.  In order to close a sale you have to promise that your product or service will improve the quality of your customer's life.

The reason that sales has such a bad name is that, though some greatly exaggerate the results of their product or service, many times salespeople do and say what is necessary to get the sale and forget to follow through with their client.

If the product or service doesn't live up to the client's expectations (expectations that you built during the sale) then they will perceive you as a liar and will probably speak ill of you and your company.

If you follow up with your clients on a regular basis, by phone or in person is preferable, you will be able to handle complaints that they may not be comfortable bringing to you.  Thus giving you the chance to keep disgruntled customers in your favor.

Believe it or not, by inviting a client to complain you may even have the opportunity to up-sale them.  Often times customers, in attempt to be frugal, will go for a less expensive item that isn't what they really needed or wanted.

If you follow up and find out about their disappointment you will have the opportunity to improve their situation and make an additional sale.  It's a win-win.

Needless to say the follow-up should be an integral part of your business system.  Your employees should have regular obligations to ask your customers:

"Are you happy with your experience so far?"
Or something of the sort.  If the answer is yes, great!  If no, then invite them to complain and handle their objections accordingly.

For more information on how to handle objections please refer to our SalesDogs Training School Kit.
When it comes to success there is one major characteristic that separates the rich from the rest - their mindset.  Your mindset is a conglomerate of your beliefs, training, experiences, etc.  It is the process by which you operate.  It is your past shaping your present.
Successful people have either been born pre-wired or have reprogrammed themselves to believe that they are or will be successful.

If you walk into a sale with the belief that a client is not going to buy, it becomes a likely outcome.  Most likely when this happens you are recalling a previous pitch with a similar client that didn't go well. 

If you are going to have any luck in your current sale you need to focus on what you learned from your previous experience and forget the rest.

If you are not where you want to be in life you need to re-evaluate your mindset.  (For help with the evaluation and re-programming of your mindset please refer to Blair Singer's book "Little Voice" Mastery or attend one of our workshops.)

You also need to evaluate what it is you are and what it is you want to be, so that you can see if your mindset matches your goals.

In Robert Kiyosaki's Cashflow Quadrant, Robert explains that there a four types of workers in this world; employees, self-employed, business owners and investors. 

Not only are these positions but they are mindsets as well.  An employee is willing to trade their time for pay, the self-employed only makes money when they work, a business owner makes money to delegate their work, and the investor makes money by lending money and does little else.

Most of the workers in the world fall into the categories of employee and self-employed, however a vast majority of the world's money lies in the hands of the business owner and the investor.

Look at what you want in life.  Are you content with a simple life - security, family and a hobby?  If so you have the mindset of the employed.  If this is the case you would be horribly unhappy and unsuccessful as a business owner.

One of the biggest problems with businesses today is that most business owners operate as if they were self-employed.  They think they have to be involved in every process of the business (our SalesPartners are experts in assisting business owners in the establishment and automation of the systems that govern your business.  Call today for a free assessment.)  A true business owner wants to make loads of money without lifting a finger.

Ask yourself these questions:  What position am I currently in?  Which position best matches my mindset?  What do I want?  How do I define success?

Your answers should provide you a personal roadmap to success and happiness.