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C-Level Relationship Selling - 9 Active Listening Steps to Effortlessly Sell Prospects

Sales calls are the most important step for selling and relationship development.† Thatís why you have to have a strategy to get people talking while you listen with an ear to understand. Learn the 9 steps strategy to win-over C-Level executive and other prospects in this article

Interviewing is the most important step of sales calls and relationship development.† Interviewing requires asking stimulating questions that get prospects to discuss their wants relative to what youíre offering.† However, interviewing also requires active listening.† That is, listening with and ear to learn and understand.

When someone opens up, itís a major step in selling them or building your relationship.† Some people require more effort than other to open up.† Thatís why you have to have a strategy to get people talking.† But no matter how much effort is required, when that prospect starts talking, itís time for you to start listening, gathering information without interrupting.

Interrupting shuts people down or makes them defensive.† So if your prospect is somewhat on tract, let him talk and youíll gather a boat load of relevant information.† Keep in mind, people answer your questions in their own way and itís usually not in the direct way youíd like.† So give them a little slack and let them ramble a bit.†† Your attention will show them youíre interested, while you learn their issues and wants and the subtleties of what will make them warm to you.

An Interviewing Strategy

I have a process I use for all my sales calls.† It consists of 1- asking open ended questions about issues and concerns as they relate to my services, then 2 - listening.† While listening, 3 - I take notes, underlining powerful and ambiguous words that Iíll get more clarity on later.† Once the prospect has finished talking and explaining, 4 - I ask him to define his meaning of power words, such as low price, good service, reliable company, etc.† Once I understand, 5 - I expose and entice the prospect with benefits and/or features he didnít mention but I feel he should have. †From this questioning, listening and suggesting sequence I feel I know whatís wanted, but 6- I confirm back to the prospect to see if I got it correctly and so he realizes I understand.† If so, 7 - I ask if he is interested in hearing my presentation of how I can help him.† After I present, 8 - I ask how he feels about what I just presented.† If good, 9A - I ask for his commitment.† If ambivalent or not so good, 9B - I clear up concerns and/or objections and then ask for his commitment.

Each of these steps has power and purpose.† It is extremely effective for sales calls and relationship development meetings.† It will produce all the information so that you can structure a presentation to move prospects to commitment, or cement relationships or to indicate that youíve got a non-buyer at this time and itís time to leave.

Test It Out

Next person youíre with Ė wife, child, friend, waiter, etc., ask an open-ended question and donít speak for (4) seconds.† This will be a major challenge, but work on it.† When she/he starts speaking, donít interrupt.† Just keep nodding.† Notice how much this person tells you.

Now pick out something she/he said and ask to clarify it.† I.e. The waiter says, ďThe fish is really good tonight.Ē† You say, ďWhat is it about the fish that makes it so good?Ē† Wait for him to talk and notice how much more you learn about the fish.

Now offer up something the waiter didnít say, but you feel he should have said, such as, ďYou didnít say anything about the freshness of the fish, or the seasoning, or what other customers have said about tonightís fish.Ē Youíll notice youíll get even more information.

I could continue with the remaining steps, but it would get a little crazy. Youíre not trying to sell the waiter.† However, for those you are trying to sell, youíll have to practice with someone how youíll implement the 9 steps above.† As logical and simple as they sound, they are difficult to do.† And if you think you can short cut the process, test it both ways.† But, Iím confident youíll discover you get to where you want to be faster and easier implementing all 9 steps.

And now I invite you to learn more.

Bonus Tip:† FREE E-book "Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers " .† If you canít get to the powerful decision makers, youíre depending on your contacts to do your selling at the high levels.† The problem is you wonít know what they sayArticle Submission, if they say anything at all.† Click this link

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Sam makes it easy for any business owner, manager or sales professional to generate quality leads, and beat the competition. Grab your FREE E-Books, Articles and other Advanced Sales Training Tips at

Sam Manfer is the leading expert on selling to CEOs and powerful people.† Sam is a sales strategist, entertaining key note speaker and author of TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$, The Complete Guide to C-Level Selling Ė getting to and influencing top level decision-makers.†

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