Winning New Business: Rule #4

Listen.

The “listen factor” is really part of each of these New Business Rules.

The only way to learn what the prospect wants or needs is to listen when she talks. Sure, ask good questions. And, make some points—but only so you can listen to the reactions. Of course, listen to everyone who’s in a position to provide insights that will help you formulate your strategy to win the business.

It’s always amazed me that prospects rate the conversations prior to the pitch—either phone, video or in person—as “excellent” when they do most the talking. There’s a lesson there. It’s reinforced by the conversation after the pitch when—almost without exception in my experience—the prospect says “You won,” and one of the reasons is “We liked how you listened to us.” Or, “You lost. You didn’t seem to pay attention to what we told you.”

OK. Sometimes the prospect doesn’t know what he wants or may be wrong about it. He still wants to know you’ll pay attention to him. Can you blame him?

Listen aggressively. With your whole body. Take notes to prove you’re listening and want to remember. In the pitch, begin key points with “As we heard you say…” and “When you told us about….”

So, listen; leverage what you hear; prove you did. Then listen for the good news.

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