When you are in sales, is social listening worth it? Or are you just being called a sellout? Social listening is a valuable technique that can be used to enhance sales performance.
A helpful application of this technique is the ability to recognize and then respond appropriately, to behaviors that may be indicative of someone’s intention to sell something or receive an offer. This is the heart of the social listening process, and it is simply the ability to hear.
What is “listening”? In English it can be defined as: to convey the meaning of what is said by means of signs. In our everyday lives we use listening in a variety of ways. One example is when someone speaks into our ears or mouths.
Other forms of listening are more clearly defined. For example, when a speaker asks us to respond to something or when the speaker explicitly tells us to respond. It is the response to that sign (a verbal cue) that we use to interpret what the speaker was asking.
There is no right or wrong response to the question of “Are you selling?” in this situation, but if you are listening, responding, and waiting, your own ability to make sense of what is being said and to respond to that sign, is strengthened. This gives you the opportunity to enter into a discussion about the subject that the speaker is asking about, or the subject and the issue being discussed. In many cases, other speakers are also aware of the subject of the sales conversation, but they are not directly participating in it.
The results of increased social listening and patience in sales performance can be seen in various sales situations. This is especially true in the face of the issue of negotiation. When people do not know how to negotiate successfully, sometimes they must be assisted with techniques of negotiation and communication.
Here the answer to “Is it worth it to negotiate” is answered in the affirmative if the person who is in control of the issue is able to overcome the customer’s reaction and concentrate on accomplishing the goal of the transaction. Often the negotiation occurs because the customer has taken the lead. In these cases, the salesperson must listen intently and follow the lead of the customer so that he does not become distracted by the customer’s need for what he is offering.
In more complex scenarios, where the negotiation process has been initiated by another person, this helps the salesperson to develop a greater understanding of the situation and his customers. It is important to understand the needs of the other person as well as the needs of the customer. When a person is listening to what he is hearing, he has to do a better job at clarifying the issues and the needs.
This skill helps to prepare the salesperson for much of the discussion that is needed. He has to show up with a clear understanding of the reason for the conversation and the goals to be achieved. Once these goals are understood, the salesperson can begin to speak in the best language possible to make that information available to the other person.
If what a salesperson has to say is not going to meet the needs of the other person, then he can use a variation of how he might have replied in a situation where the needs were met. This is a way of saying that his ability to perceive needs was just not strong enough to be able to get the response that he wanted. In those circumstances, he now has the option of avoiding or changing the behavior that he was attracted to.
These techniques are also available to the salesperson who is training and learning new skills. For example, in the process of communication coaching, the salesperson can practice using his social listening skills in order to improve communication and reduce the communication barriers that are often occurring in business situations. And if there is a question that he cannot get the answer to that requires further examination, then his ability to shift his attention can be improved.
While it may seem to some that social listening is not worth it, studies have shown that the technique is actually quite valuable in sales because it is much less apparent in some sales situations than others. And in sales situations where the subject is still unclear, in other words, but the need is clear, social listening can be an asset.