August 10, 2017


It’s ironic that one of the biggest strengths of elite salespeople, the ability to confidently speak about their product or service with just about anyone, is also their biggest liability.

Why? Because in order to sell effectively, they should not be talking quite as much but rather,listening. And corporate sales training doesn’t emphasize this enough.

In my new book, Close Deals Faster: The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method, I explain exactly why listeners are the ones in control, versus the talkers. It might seem the opposite, but when salespeople listen, their buyer is revealing exactly how to close them. When salespeople talk and talk, they are turning off the buyer and making the sale harder.

Example 1:

Buyer: “I am looking for a new service plan for our copiers.”

Typical Salesperson: “Well, you’ve come to the right place. Our robust service plan provides technicians 24 hours per day, 7 days per week for emergency repairs. We promise 99% uptime, and we do this through bi-weekly inspections, cleanings, lubricating of all rollers, and more. We are not the cheapest, but we are the most comprehensive.”

Buyer: “Uh, we had a comprehensive plan like yours before and it was overkill. I was looking for something very simple.Our copiers don’t break often.”

Oops. This salesperson was taught the old corporate sales training method of “whack them over the head with features.” You can recover from an exchange like that, but it doesn’t make for a great first impression. Compare that with this:

Example 2:

Buyer: “I am looking for a new service plan for our copiers.”

Elite Salesperson: “How many machines do you need serviced?”

Buyer: “About 50.” (this qualifies the buyer—there are enough machines to be worth selling a plan to)

Elite Salesperson: “Okay. And why are you thinking of switching from your current provider?”

Buyer: “Uh, we had a comprehensive plan and it was overkill. I was looking for something very simple.Our copiers don’t break often.”

Elite Salesperson: “So you need a basic plan without many maintenance visits, and provides peace of mind in the rare event something goes wrong?” (confirms what the buyer just said!)

Buyer: “Exactly.”

Bingo! Now that’s a sale in the making, all because the elite salesperson asked guiding questions and simply listened to the feedback rather than launch immediately into a long-winded pitch. You have to know what the needs are before you offer anything, right?

That’s why you listen.

The three keys to perfect listening

Now there are three keys to perfect listening in sales. I explain them thoroughly in the book and in my corporate sales training program, but I thought I would provide them here in abbreviated form:

  1. Totally focus on the buyer’s point of view
  2. Ask permission to take notes – and take notes
  3. Summarize the buyer’s needs and repeat back to get agreement.

Pretty simple right? But there’s more to them, which I explain in depth.

My book, Close Deals Faster: The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Methodis published by IdeaPress and will be available in October 2017. Pre-order it here today.