Sales Skills For Service Professionals Part 2

In Part I of this series, we introduced three skills that are essential for selling professional services:

(1) The ability to ask provocative questions

(2) The ability to listen with total focus on the client

(3) The ability to relate moving stories and metaphors

Let’s take a look at the second skill: The ability to listen with total focus on the client.

Anyone who is married knows that we really don't listen to each other. I could call my wife, Hannah, from my office and say something like:

"Honey, you wont believe this! I got to work fifteen minutes late this morning and when I looked out the window there was a flying saucer with two little green men in it. They waved and flew off into space . . ."

Hannah would then probably ask:

"Why were you late? You left on time."

We tend to listen to one another, surf the Internet and watch television all at the same time. When we do, the listening part of this multitasking is passive listening.

Some of my clients and friends have taken courses on active listening. They've been told:

"When you're speaking with a client, stop everything else, put your papers aside, turn away from the computer, make eye contact with the client, concentrate on the words he is speaking, and don't interrupt."

These are all important, but they don't stop us from being "Waiting To Talk" listeners. Even when we stop all activity and elect to listen actively, our minds are racing through responses for whatever it is that the client or prospect is saying. So we miss the most important component of communication-the emotion behind the words.

Listening with total focus on the client requires all of the skills you need for active listening, but adds the requirement that you let go of the need to hunt for a response. Listen to the words, listen for the emotions behind the words and observe the client's body language. Listen for what he or she is saying, but also for what they're not saying.

Professionals who are totally focused on the client or prospect are always more likely to win-or keep-them as clients. But it's not easy to do this right and will take practice-and maybe some coaching.

Author:. Sandy Schussel, the "More Clients" Coach, is a speaker, author, sales trainer and coach who went from being a rainmaker for his law firm, to running his own seminar business, to being hired as the national sales training director of a financial services brokerage. Order his new book, BECOME A CLIENT MAGNET: 27 Strategies to Boost Your Client-Attraction Factor, the "how to" compa... Go Deeper | Website

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