The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

Improve Your Active Listening Skills w/ Patrick McLoughlin

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

How well do you prepare to listen?

 

We know how important asking great questions is to uncovering business pain. However, having great questions will only get you so far, if you don’t know how to listen to the answers. 

 

Patrick McLoughlin talks through the concept of active listening and the fundamentals elite sellers execute flawlessly. Skills like:

 

- How to prepare for the answers you’ll get from customers in a way that enables you to dig deeper or pivot decisively

 

- What you need to listen for if you want to map what you hear (negative consequences, before scenarios) to your solutions effectively

 

- How to follow up what you’ve uncovered to get your customer to feel heard & understood

 

Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

 

Here are some additional resources on Active Listening

 

Playing Back Your Sales Discovery Sessions [Podcast]

https://apple.co/2E4HFQD

Approaching Your Sales Conversations with Empathy [Podcast]

https://apple.co/2YDHX8b

Our Most FAQs from Salespeople [Podcast]

https://apple.co/36Kyu1I

You may ask a question where thecustomer will give you an answer. That surprises you and that's that's thestepback moment where wow. I didn't expect that answer. Where do I move you're listening to the audible, ready,podcast, the show that helps you and your teams sell more faster willfeature sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a salesengine that helps you feel repeatable revenue growth presented by the team Fforce management, a leader in PTB sales effectif this let's get started hello and welcome to the audible, ready,podcast, I' Righel, Clad Miller and I'm joined today by Patrick mclacklin, HeyPatty, Mac, Hey Rachel. How are you I'm good, I'm good today? This is a topicthat you, you suggested Patrick we're going to talk about listening, activelistening, and I know you had picked this topic because you said it was topof mind. Why is it's the top of mine for you right now? Well, you know when I think about whatwe do is sellers. We spend so much time...

...and precall preparation on thequestions. We're going to ask the flow of the questions were going to ask andthen how we're going to be audible in the moment to articulate businessproblems that I don't think we do enough time in preparing to listen tothe potential answers the customer can give us- and I think that is such animportant part of a seller's preparation, Eahi love that conceptpreparing yourself, so you can listen better. So, let's dive in you know, wetalk a lot about the importance of great questions, gleaning, greatinformation from your prospects. I've done a ton of podcast on discovery andasking great questions, but listening and getting that information is morethan just writing down what they say. What you're talking about really demandactive listening demands? You be audible, ready, so to speak, to react.Yeah. You know I used to h e my first salesmanager. He Ha had a funny saying he said you had two ears and one mouth youshould use them in the same proportion.

I think really great sellers haveeffective listening techniques, they're very attentive and they're. Veryintentional. They are looking at both facial expressions of looking andlistening for tone. I also think that great listening, and especially duringcovid when we're doing so many calls on zoom, they eliminate distractions, theyeliminate emails from popping up, so they eliminate internal the Nextjournal,and I also think that they mapp the conversations for the customer. So theyask follow up questions to the answer. Questions like well. How long has thatbeen occurring? What made you move in that direction, and so they ask andthey lead the customer and they map out the problem a to the solution and theywalk the customer through the process. I also believe that it's reallyimportant that when you hear things that the client values that you bringin in sightful, relevant information,...

...prove points and and continue to use,openite questions really important and you one of the things that might bereally good during Covid, is during a zoom call, is record yourself recordthe call with the customer and play back the questions that you asked andthink did I ask a clarifying question: Did I ask a second or third levelquestion? Really good learning experience for our sellers during thistime period when you say map mapping the answers. What do you mean by thattalk? A little bit about that concept, that Dar you so so we always wassellers. We always think about okay. What are the questions we have to getbecause we want to get to the problem, because you want to tell the customerhow we solve the problem, and you know we teach people to be audible, tocommunicate in a way that will resonate with the person they're talking to, buta lot of times we're not prepared for the answers we're going to get so oneof the things that I had a manager teach me early. My career was hey,prepare for your answers as much or twice as much as the questions you'regoing to ask meaning. What's the answer...

...you want to get where you would move tothe next question in the conversation right and move the customer through theprocess, but you have to be audible because the customer making of youanswer that you don't want to hear and then how do you adjust the fly and,more importantly, you may get a question or you may ask a questionwhere the customer will give you an answer. That surprises you and that'sthe stepback moment where wow. I didn't expect that answer. Where do I move? SoI always ask sellers when you come up with your questions great. What are theanswers you want to heare? What's the answer you don't want to hear so youcan pitit and what's the answer. That would surprise you that would cause youto maybe change direction completely as you're trying to map out a potentialproblem in solution with the client yeah. I love that concept of preparingfor the answers and that's probably something everybody listening right nowcan can get better at. I remember when I first started a force management. Iwas, I guess I was here for like a year, maybe- and I went out on a sales calland...

...we were asking some great questions andthen they came back with something that was one of our value drivers and theperson that was with me from force ISS no longer with the company, but he gaveme feedback after the meeting and he was like Rachel. If they talk about avalue driver, don't switch the subject, and I was like Oh yeah, you know what that's a that's that Tisoright there. That's that's what I would call active listening, so there'stechniques that we can have our sellars or sellers can ous. I really had agreat sales leader that taught me a lot of skills, and one of the things that Iwas taught early in my Salles career was to listen for verbs, listen foradjectives and LISTN descriptives and listen for feelings right. So whensomeone says they want to reduce reduce by what, when someone says, they wantmore productivity when someone says they're frustrated right well, what'swhat is that level of frustration? You...

...need to dive in and it', it's being soaudible ready in the moment, and it really ties into the value of commandof the message right: the negative consequences, positive businessoutcomes, metrics and required capabilities. So any time I hearddhescriptive language adjectives right, describing an environment or processverbs I want to reduce. I want to improve. I want to eliminate those areall verbs right, all actionable verbs. What does that mean right? We have acustomer that we've done many trainings for, and he has a great saying make thecustomers stand where their feet are. Get the customer to give furtherexplanation what they mean to those feelings to those for to thoseadjectives. So those are the things that I used to try to listen for when Iwould ask questions to ask second and third level questions from a followupperspective. That's that's great, and you know I wish this is a not a visual medium that we're doingtoday, Patrick, but I've seen some...

...great ideas for how people take notes.When you talk about mapping the answers to what they, what the customer hassaid and leading it down those the Cu. The conversation like I've seen peopletake notes where it's not really lineor. They may like make a fourbox orsomething and they might make a value driver, and so, when a customercomments related to the value driver, they put it together with in thatbucket, and you know not necessarily taking notes, literally in a linearfashion, but almost bucketing. What you hear in a way that allows you to mapthose before scenarios negative consequences to pbos recardcapabilities, Etca, yeah, so interesting that you bring that up. Sofor a lot of people that may be listening and and gone through thevalue based conversation with Commandof the message we have organizations thathave actually built formal discovery sheet with that XY grap right, Uber,left hand, corner negative consequences up a right hand, corner positivebusiness outcomes. Bottom left required...

...capabilities. An metric BOT Buiman, sobottom left require capabilities, an metrics bottom right. How we do ind,how we do it better and proof points and there's actually another client ofours has a great saying: Have you done enoughwork above the line to earn theright to go to below the line meaning have I done enough work to understandafor scenario in tangible, quantifiable, negative consequences where the clientis looking to go and how they would define success? I I've done a great job.There then I get, and then I've earned the right to talk to the customer o.What the solution would look like and more specifically how my organizationcan get them to a place. They can't get them on their own, so they have thatgreat, saying Hav. I done enough work above the line to earn the right to gobelow the line yeah. So that's a great great listening technique, listeningskill, but, more importantly, how do you document that and take notesactively in the Sales Call Yeah? You know, because summarizing that call isso important in that followup, and I...

...know we mentione to come out of themessage, but that's also a big reason why we are such advocates of makingsure you earn that right, defining the PBOS or require capabilities and themetric so you're able to effectively pit play those back to the customer. Imean in the conversation you want to show that you're listening, but it'salso really important in th that email follow. U The power point decates youlead behind, because that's going to show your listening just as well, thutsort of that what we heard type context, yeah, absolutely and the best way to dothat is the Matra right to play back what I've heard. Mr Customer, these arethe positive business outcomes and we agreed to these required capabilitiesand metrics right and you're, really then focusing and using your customerslanguage. To repeat that. Back to that, I always want to make sure that if youR, if you really were effectively listening, if you were listening to thetrue meaning of the word- and you were listening for the feelings and theintuition that the customer was providing you, you would actually usethe same language that the customer...

...uses. So it demonstrates you have anunderstanding of their point of view, which is really the number one need inthe buyer. Cellar relationship. The need to be heard is so important inthat firecellar relationship yeah, a D I want to remind the listeners, we havea podcast on playing back the what we heard tips you can use to play back theone what we heard in your emails and in your subsequent conversation, so wesourd Hav, checked that out. I've linked it in the show notes. Anotherthing that we talk about with active listening is this idea of you know youwant to show empathy. You want to make the customer understand that you'veseen those experiences before maybe that they're having especially if it'sa negative consequence. Sometimes we talk about. We have some podcast wherewe've talked about making sure you don't come off asnegative when you're trying to get them to talk about their problem, and wealways say it's not you that's being negative. It's the problem, they'rehaving that's negative and one of the ways we encourage people to make thatconversation more welcoming is to share...

...what you've heard from other customersdealing with the same thing, and in order to do that right to share similarexperiences that you're hearing from the customer, you have to be audible,ready to show you show your listening and you have to be audible, ready withthose proof points. They can also help to show that you're listening to whatthe customers dealing with. Oh, absolutely and proof points Racel, gratpoint proof points are more than just rattling off numbers and matrics. Whatit does is it makes the customer, almost, I won't say, feel comfortablebut make them feel like. Okay, I'm not the only one, solving this problem ortrying to address this problem, and I'm not alone in this that this may be ausecase. This may be an industry trend. This is something that's going on withother organizations and then it also helps my prospect determine whatthey're going to benchmark their solution off of right. So inside offorce management like today's proof points, are tomorrow's metrics in thevalue based conversation, so one it does provide the client with someinformation. It does demonstrate...

...empathy, which is a great sale skill tohave, and then it also allows the customer. You actually are covertlyaddressing required capabilities in metrics for any potential solution thatthat customer would be looking at yeah. I think- and you know we also say tosometimes when you're looking at your company's proofpoints and some havesome have more than others. You might say. Well you know that that company,where we've got a proof, point isn't in the same industry as this company, so Idon't want to share it because it's not irrelevant, but perhaps the problem wassimilar or the outcome they're trying to drive to similar. So when you lookat the proof, points that you have at your disposal is a salesperson. Don'tjust look at it. So narrowly focus, there's probably a nugget in there thatyou can tie into this customer this prospect that you're talking that willshow that you're listening and draw those conclusions and proof that you've doneit before yeah agree completely. So as we wrap up PATTYMAC, we always like torap with with a final thought in a...

...bottom line and you're, always so greatat thes. So if you are going to wrap this up for active listening for thepeople list listening out there, I hope they're actively listening. What wouldyou say yogreat, so I thought about it and here's. My answer be curious. Thebest sales people have the highest levels of curiosity. They don't want tojust gather int information. They want to learn, and those are the people thatask the second third and fourth level questions. Those are the people thatdon't take the answers for granted and dive deeper. So have a high level ofcuriosity and approach, your prospects, where you want to learn about them,their jobs, their company, their industry and not just gather data, andI think that's what separates the good from the great. That's great, thank youso much for joining me for this conversation, Patrick yes, Rachel goodtime talking to you again all right and thank you to all of you for activelylistening to the audible, ready,...

...podcast at force management. We'refocused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams areproven methodologies. Deliver programs that build company alignment and fuelrepeatable revenue growth, give your teams the ability to execute the grossstrategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proofis in our results. Let's get started visit us at force. Managementcom you'vebeen listening to the audible, ready podcast to not miss an episodesubscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time.

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