“God gave us two ears and one mouth, so we ought to listen twice as much as we speak.” Author: ~Irish Proverb~
The ability to listen is one of the most important skills a sales person can have. Without question listening is a skill and it needs to be practiced. As a former Event Sales Manager for Starwood Hotels I would handle hundreds of leads a month for our event space in Boston and the surrounding area. On each lead I would launch directly into selling my restaurant and hotel that I would never listen to what my prospect really wanted. I do not want to think about how much business I may have lost because I did not hear the client’s needs for their event.
It is exciting to talk about your restaurant or hotel and let the Prospect know how wonderful your event space is or how fantastic the food and chef are but if you don’t take the time to understand the Prospects needs and vision of their event, then you run the risk of turning them off and having them go elsewhere. When responding to your next lead try asking different questions than “what are your dates?” or “how many people are you planning on attending?” and ask questions like “what kind of event where you thinking of?” or “How do vision your event taking place?” or “What is important to you for the private dining space?”
Make sure you listen and not interrupt your prospect with how your restaurant can do that or do this. Once you have an understanding of what they want, repeat it back to them so they know you heard them and understand them. Your Prospect will then know you understand their needs and will feel more comfortable with what you have to say next about your venue.
Give listening a chance and I know your sales will increase and you will have a customer for life.