The Acid Test

Don’t get caught not listening to your potential customer. This is critical to your sales success.

Paraphrase Your Customer’s Words

The customer is only sure that you have been listening when you paraphrase what they have said and feed it back in your own words. This is where the rubber meets the road in effective listening. This is where you demonstrate in no uncertain terms to the prospect that your listening has been real and sincere. This is where you show the prospect that you were paying complete attention to what he or she was saying. Paraphrasing is how you prove it.

Question For Clarification

When the prospect has finished explaining his or her situation to you, and you have paused, and then questioned for clarification, you paraphrase the prospects primary thoughts and concerns, and feed them back to him or her in your own words.

Use the Right Words

For example, you might say, “Let me make sure I understand exactly what you are saying. It sounds to me like you are concerned about two things more than anything else and that in the past you have had a couple of experiences that have made you very careful in approaching a decision of this kind.”

Feed It Back Accurately

You then go on to feed back to the prospect exactly what he or she has told you, pausing and questioning for clarification as you go, until the customer says words to the effect of, “Yes, that’s it! You’ve got it exactly.”

Earn the Right to Sell

Only when you and the customer completed a thorough “examination” and have mutually agreed on the “diagnosis” you are in a position to begin talking to the customer about your product or service. In general terms, this means that you can not pull out your brochures and price lists and begin telling the customer how your product or service can solve his problems or achieve his goals until about seventy percent of the way through the sales conversation. Until then, you have not yet earned the right. Until then, you don’t even know enough to begin an intelligent presentation without embarrassing yourself.

Be A Good Listener

The more and better you listen, the more and better people will like you, trust you and want to do business with you. The more they will want to get involved with you as a person and the more popular you will be with them. Excellent listeners are welcome everywhere, in every walk of life, and they eventually and ultimately arrive at the top of their fields.

Action Exercises

Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First: Remember that your first job in the sale is to get the customer to like you and believe that you understand his situation. Paraphrasing is the way you accomplish this.

Second: Be sure that the customer agrees with you completely when you feed back his concerns to him. Only then can you really start selling.

About Brian Tracy — Brian is recognized as the top sales training and personal success authority in the world today. He has authored more than 60 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development, including worldwide bestseller The Psychology of Achievement. Brian's goal is to help you achieve your personal and business goals faster and easier than you ever imagined. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Linkedin and Youtube.

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  • chris

    Brian ! Thanks for everything. I started with you
    at least 20 years ago when you were still as young as me at the time ! Now we are both still the same age – miracle ! To all of out there writing in to this post and reading and listening to Brian, I say just stick with him and collect all of his material that you can afford. You will listen to it and read it for years. It will change you and change your life. When he started, when I first came across his work, he was a bit stiff and
    not so much fun but his quality has always been
    simply the best. Now he’s fun and ever so much broader in his output. You can start to grow with him today.

    Now, what did I say ???? 🙂

  • john francis

    this is so great.

  • Hi Brian,

    Listeners are learners.

    You can only learn about your customer’s experience after you’ve listened to what they have to say.

    Personalize each interaction with a prospect by listening before you speak. Each person has unique questions and concerns that need to be heard in order to be addressed. Otherwise, you’re doing business with yourself 🙂

    I’ve trained myself to pause a moment after each time a person stops speaking. This pause lets the person know that I have listened to what they have to say. It also affords me the time to collect my thoughts and respond appropriately to the information that they’ve provided me with.

    Thanks for sharing your insight Brian. Have a powerful day!


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