Sales Tip From the Trainer: Asking is Good – But Listening is...

Sales Tip From the Trainer: Asking is Good – But Listening is Even Better


Customers who talk a little about themselves will not just feel accepted and taken seriously, but they will also automatically reveal to the salesperson the points of view to which they are receptive and how a successful deal could be achieved with them. All that is required is a little patience and a keen ear.

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Consequently, the customer should be afforded enough space in the sales conversation to talk about their needs and desires. The rule of thumb is this: the customer should speak for 60 to 70 percent of the conversation and the salesperson should speak for 30 to 40 percent.

As a salesperson, hold back your in-depth knowledge for a moment and ask the customer three questions:

  • The target question: “What do you expect from the product/service?”
  • The understanding question: “What does the product/service mean to you?”
  • The value question: “What is important to you about the product/service?”

Then you will very easily understand not only your customer’s objective, but also their motivation for turning to you.

Conduct the conversation as follows:

  • Make sure to remember the three questions mentioned above.
  • Keep the order of the questions above in the sales conversation and incorporate them into the conversation naturally.
  • Make use of other questions that relate to the customer’s interests:

What questions: “What do you like? What is important for you? What do you expect from us?”

How questions: “How do you feel about this? How have you been working up to now? How would you like it to be in the future?”

Other questions: “What are you interested in? Why is that so important for you? Where does this idea come from?”

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Marc Pillay
Marc Pillay is the managing director of DEVELOP South Africa, a division of the Bidvest Group Limited. Pillay has been responsible for evolving the DEVELOP brand since its launch in the South African market in 2009. He brings 21 years of experience in the print industry and 18 years in sales and sales training to the role. He has proven track record in growing new business and developing new brands. He also sits on the Bidvest Office division board.