Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sell through Listening

A salesman is a good talker.  They use lots of words to convince us that we need to buy what ever they are selling, right?  You do need to know what you are selling and be able to put it into understandable words of course.  But more than talking, a saleperson must be a good listener to be most successful.

I've been a freight broker for several decades now.  I do love to tell a good story to entertain my client but I've learned that I need to work on my listening skills continually.  To gain a customer for life I need to understand what my customer needs from me.  The only way to learn that is for me to close my mouth and listen to their needs, their goals and their challenges.  As much as is possible, I can then go about fulfilling those needs, helping them reach their goals and minimizing the challenges.

Listening is a skill.  We can hear without truly listening.  Listening is active.  Our goal is understanding what the speaker is saying.  Too often we half listen while we think of what we will say next or while we wait for them to pause so we can start talking.  If we start talking before we have heard them out we will not be equipped to offer them pertinent solutions.

In America the average conversation is interrupted every 17 seconds.  Listen next time you are in a casual group discussion and count how many seconds go by before someone else jumps in.  Practice not interupting but truly trying to listen and understand.  Ask probing questions based on what you heard so that you can understand with more depth. 

We only learn when we are listening.  When we are talking we are just spitting out what we already know. 

Hone your listening skills as a freight broker and develop deeper relationships with your carriers.

Moving forward,

Jeff Roach

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