The Magic of Listening


There is a famous quote that helps to separate the great salespeople from the mediocre ones: People don t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” said Theodore Roosevelt. While this quote may be repeated often, does anyone ever really take the time to stop and think about what it truly means? Do they consider how it could ultimately affect their daily sales?

When sitting down with a potential client, what does a salesperson do first? If they are truly in it for the customer’s benefit, they will first take the time to get to know their prospect, before spending time talking about their product. This is the very first step in showing that the client’s story matters. A customer wants to feel that their why is important and that their needs and concerns are being heard. One of the great things about the warm-up is that it doesn’t have to last a long time – maybe 15 minutes or so. When the client sees that they are truly cared for, they will open up and share things they may not normally share. 

By actively listening during this part of the meeting, you may be able to glean what led the client to set the meeting in the first place. This crucial step lays the foundation for the rest of the meeting. This get-to-know-you session doesnt have to take a great deal of time -- typically 15 minutes or so. When the potential customer or client sees that you are genuine and that you truly care about them, they may open up and share things they may not normally share. 

For example, take this story of a Certified Financial Planner® who recently held a meeting with a new, prospective client. As he always does, the CFP® took a few minutes at the beginning of their meeting to find out all about his prospective client’s family and to just simply sat to listen to her stories. As the lady was finishing up, she told the CFP® that she could tell he truly cared about her and her family, unlike the other financial planners she had met with who just threw numbers at her and expected her to understand it all. She appreciated how much time he took to talk to her about the relationship she had with her children and grandchildren and the legacy she wanted to leave. The other financial planners had just talked to her about taxes and protecting her estate from the government, with no interest in how or to whom she wanted to leave her estate.

In the end, she chose to do business with him. Why? Because he took the time to sit and listen when no other financial planner would. All he did was take 15 minutes at the beginning of their meeting to get to know the person across the desk from him.

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