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Are Your Team's Listening Skills Helping or Hurting Sales?

A CEO of a SaaS commerce company hired me to help increase sales team effectiveness. 
He asked me to observe a senior account executive having a first sales call with a Fortune 100 prospect. 
After introductions, the account exec launched into a demo, exercising his depth of product knowledge. 
After about 90 seconds, I interjected and asked the propsect about the type of issues they are facing and what solutions they were exploring.  
The prospect talked for over 15 minutes, laying out the current landscape, his needs, his goals and obstacles, the current vendors and solutions they were working with and exploring, and exactly what they wanted in both a solution and a partner.  We only asked for clarification and addressed the prospects specific needs, whereas the demo was missing the mark and ultimately wasting time. 
After the meeting, we understood the needs, budget, timeline, decision making process and clear next steps.
Up to 95% of buyers say that the typical salesperson talks too much, and that they were more likely to buy if that salesperson would simply listen.  
It is increasing important to always ensure your team has good training, skills and practices that result in growth, and not make repetitive mistakes that hurt sales. 
Here are 5 simple things you can do to be a better listener and more effective: 
    • Prepare open ended questions
    • Ask questions then shut up 
    • Ask for clarification on details and specific points 
    • Take notes 
    • Recap what you’ve heard to make sure you understand correctly 
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