Security Business

MAR 2019

Find news and information for the executive corporate security director, CSO, facility manager and assets protection manager on issues of policy, products, incidents, risk management, threat assessments and preparedness.

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20 Security Business / / March 2019 H ave you looked around at the other people in your con- ference room lately? Are they engaged? Are they listening? Are they check- ing their phones? Worse yet, are their laptops open? In today's world of reactive urgency, it is rare to find participants of busi- ness meetings fully engaged and lis- tening. Check out these eye-opening results from a recent survey of 3,600 professionals in 30 different countries conducted by Accenture: • 66 percent of conference call par- ticipants check and write emails during the call. • 35 percent of people check their instant messages or texts during live meetings. • 38 percent of surveyed companies claim to have training on so skills like listening. e conclusion: Very few people are listening, and few companies are training them to listen. Listening Skills Matter As a salesperson, if you can focus and truly listen, then you will hear pains and clues that others miss – com- pletely differentiating yourself from the rest of the market. Even before reading the stats above, it is obvious that listening today is difficult. Here are six helpful ways for sales professionals to listen better in the modern world of selling. 1 Anticipate the mood of your call or meeting. Before rushing to your next sales call, ask yourself: What has my contact experienced so far in their day? Was traffic terrible this morning? If your appointment is at 8 a.m., then they are probably full of caffeine and ready to talk. If it is mid-morning, then they may have just le a staff meeting and are ready to take a nap. 2 Don't do anything for five minutes before your appointment. A little more than 20 years ago, I had a sales call for which I was completely unprepared. On my commute, instead of listening to the radio, I turned off everything and let my mind settle. I then visual- ized how the meeting would unfold – from being greeted in the lobby to leaving their office. e result was actually the best sales call I had con- ducted to that point in my young career. I was in the moment – which helped me listen but also caused my customer to relax and engage. 3 Use a cue to bring you fully into the present moment. No matter how engaged you are at the beginning of a sales call, your mind will tend to dri. Use a simple mental cue to bring you back to the present moment. I use the word "focus" – when I find myself daydreaming about my vacation plans or the email that I have to send later, I simply say to myself "focus" and I return to the moment. 4 Turn off your phone… and let them see you do it. When you let custom- ers see you turning off your phone and stashing it somewhere, you are sending them a message that you are expecting full engagement. Even more important, you are relieving yourself from any temptations to glance at the latest text or email. 5 Play the pronoun game. When a customer uses "I," "me" and "my" – they are probably not as important as they are positioning themselves to be. If they use "we," "us" and "our" – they are probably more important than they are pretending to be. Although the objective of this game is to help you understand the real level of authority your contact has, a bonus outcome is that it helps you stay in the moment and listen carefully. 6 Don't be "Checklist Charlie." In modern selling, the primary objective of prob- ing questions is to spark a transpar- ent conversation with a customer. e information you gather is secondary – aer all, most of it can be found online. Most importantly, when inter- viewing potential customers, do not run down a set of questions like a checklist – you will appear to be the artificial facilitator of a survey. Use questions to stimulate discussion, but do not worry about getting to every question or going off the script. ■ » Chris Peterson is the founder and president of Vector Firm (www., a sales consulting and training company built specifically for the security industry. To request more info about the company, visit Modern Selling BY CHRIS PETERSON Ways to be a Better Listener Listening skills are becoming more difficult to maintain, but they are a key to success for a sales professional 6

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