We all have challenges hearing! Let’s face it, we often hear the actual sounds and verbiage, but fall a bit short on the analysis and next step. It’s critical to the sales process and the success of any business to not just hear, but to actively listen. You must process and act on that information! One hurdle to get over for any good listener is that people may be telling you what you DON’T want to hear, thus changing the course of your interaction and your ultimate sales outcome. Do not dismiss this information or assume anything; it’s all critical to forming a strong relationship and securing a sale.
For example, a client calls you for a multigenerational trip, and during the conversation you’re thinking how perfect a cruise would be for them. In your mind, you’ve got it all laid out and you’re ready to paint that picture for them of sailing off into the sunset. You’re attentively listening to the pertinent information about who is going, dates, special needs for the group, and more. So you lead into what an excellent fit a cruise would be and you are quickly shut down with, “That’s not at all what we were thinking.” BAM! That was not at all what you wanted to HEAR!
You were ready to sell Plan A, but quickly realize you need to move to Plan B. This actually presents the perfect opportunity to dig below the surface and probe that issue. At this point, it’s a very neutral exchange because you are genuinely interested in learning about that objection from your client. There is way more to uncover – have they taken a cruise before, was there ever a bad experience, are they aware of the many choices of ships and the value a cruise might offer. Even if it’s not what you want to hear, this is the critical information you will need to move ahead in the sales cycle.
Clients need to feel heard and want to know that you understand and will implement what is best for them. Perhaps after hearing the objections to a cruise, you can turn it around and they will book the cruise – if that is the case, they will know you really listened and analyzed their issues, plus you will make a more informed decision on what cruise to offer. If it’s not the outcome, you will certainly earn their trust by offering alternatives and will have gained valuable feedback for future travel plans. The most important part is that you are truly listening to your client, whether or not it’s what you want to hear!
Marti Litwin is an independent Virtuoso travel advisor with En Route Travel in Southern California. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Southern California. Marti shares her value of sharing unforgettable family experiences with her clients. In addition to travel, she enjoys yoga, health and wellness, her 2 children, and an adorable rescued Golden Retriever, Cookie.