The Power of Listening
I was inspired recently by a member of our leadership team. I realized, as I carried on and on – he patiently listened. This is a routine for him. He truly takes it all in before he responds, and I admire this skill. It’s not only respectful, but also useful. Sure, you think you listen – we all do. But do we really listen? Without interjecting? Imagine what you could accomplish if you took a moment, an extra moment, and paid close attention to every word that was spoken. Could you better help your children? Could you solve more problems? Would this reduce the amount of time you “go back to the drawing board”?
Discover Needs & Pain Points
I have sales reps call and say “the customer wants XYZ”. Why be an order taker? Listen, then ask questions, then listen again carefully to those answers. What problems are they trying to solve?
Many of us already have answers while someone is speaking. How is this possible? Do we know the full scope of their needs, pain points, and desires? The answer is simply NO, so we must get the story.
Build Healthy Business Relationships
Let’s focus on business. In the Pro AV distribution world, perhaps many organizations are content selling boxes. Unfortunately, that is not a full-service, value-add offering, not to mention all the money left on the table. We do not want to oversell to our customers, but we do need to help them with the full scope of required work. If we listen better and ask the proper questions, we will find we are a true value-add resource. Better service equals happier customers, and happier customers leads to great retention.
Case and point, we sell flat panels every day. We sell quite a few audio systems and PTZ cameras. Many of our customers are building out various sized meeting rooms, training facilities, classrooms, and the like. Why not help make it a fully functional space from the beginning? Ask your customers what they are trying to accomplish. Ask them detailed questions about who is using these rooms and how. Get the answers!
Open Up the Dialogue.
For me, I am a Business Development Manager focusing solely on one product line. While my products are often needed, they are not always thought of by the sales reps, resellers, or the end user customers. However, it does not have to be an afterthought. Let’s say you are on a call that might go something like this… “Thank you for inquiring about our flat panels. Happy to help. Where are these panels being installed? What is the scope of this project?” With these questions, you open the dialogue. Next, your customer shares the STORY. Listen to that story.
Share. Conference. Connect.
Who knows? That story may lead to several meetings rooms. Will they need touch screens, cameras, and audio? Do they know that we can offer Barco ClickShare, so they can share content with everyone quickly and easily in those rooms? Ask them if there will be a conference solution in the room, like Teams or Zoom. They will likely say “of course”. Who doesn’t use these services most days now?! Once you know what your customer already has and what they need to connect all of the pieces, you can offer solutions. You might start with, “Let me share what we can do for you now. We offer ClickShare units that bring everything together, and with a click of a button, you can not only share content on the main flat panel or touch screen, but you can integrate your conference solution, camera, and audio with that same quick connection.” I bet they will respond with a “WOW!”
Thank You for Listening
Sound simple? It really is that simple. Listening is the foundation for building relationships, to sales, to success. Don’t just be a good listener. BE A GREAT LISTENER.
About the Author
Business Development Manager
Supported Applications: Barco ClickShare (West)