Listening and Probing

Active Listening and Effective Questioning Techniques

Ever walk out of a customer meeting and kick yourself for spewing on and on -- for not listening to the customer?  We all do it.  And we all know listening is much easier said than done.

Active listening techniques are actually fairly simple.  Ask open-ended questions such as:  "How do things work now?  How do you want things to work?  What do you mean by that?"  See, get them to open up!  Then sit back, and shut up!  Take notes to show you’re genuinely interested in what they’re saying.  Occasionally repeat what they’ve just said, and then ask for clarification or more detail.  Never interrupt the customer.  Let them feel like they’re running the conversation.  And never talk product until you completely understand their business situation.

To practice, try active listening techniques at home -- if you dare!  Your goal is to build the customer relationship by conveying empathy through active listening.  And yes, it’s a lot easier said than done.

Remember, you’re not learning anything while your mouth is open and your ears are shut!

This has been Phil Janus of "Going For The Close".

Good Selling everyone.