This month, we sit down with new home sales professionals Kelly Boehmer, Debbie McGhee and Reed Schweizer to discuss listening skills.
John Rymer: One of the most important skills in selling is learning to listen. What are some tips on improving your listening skills?
Kelly Boehmer: Listening skills are the most important thing in sales. You can talk at customers all you want, but they are looking for a certain answer from you. You need to listen to what they are looking for to find out what they want to know.
Bombarding customers with information is something that I see so many salespeople doing. That is definitely not my approach. I really try to fall on the listening side of the conversation by asking questions such as:
- What features are you looking for?
- Where are you currently living?
- What type of amenities are you looking for within the community?
By asking open-ended questions, I find that I get a little bit more information out of customers. When a customer perceives that you are listening to what they have to say, it shows them that you have a genuine interest in helping them find them the new home that is right for them and that is really important. It is important that we take the time to listen to what they want and find out how we can best meet our customers' needs. If we don't know what their needs are, we can't help them find a new home
Debbie McGhee: Customers usually love to talk about themselves, from which you can pull a lot of information you need to make the sale. If you listen to what they have to say, you can make that a quicker close because you know what they are looking for and you are qualifying and closing at the same time. Yesterday, I sat and listened to a customer for almost 20 minutes and I think I pulled more out of that particular presentation then I have in a long time. I was able to make the sale a lot quicker and the customer was very happy with what we selected.
Reed Schweizer: The biggest thing when you get into sales is just learning to listen. When you are trained in sales you learn a lot about facts, figures, statistics and square footage. All that is great, but it doesn't sell houses. I have been in sales for a long time and when I first got into sales, my mentor told me you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. You will always learn more by listening than by talking. People will tell you what it takes to sell them if you just ask the right questions and really listen to their answers. Too many young salespeople don't listen to the answers. They think they know what the answer is and they hurry up and go on to something else trying to bore people with facts and statistics. You listen for the answer. You get the answer that is going to lead them down the path to home ownership and you go with it.