Editor's Letter - Are You Listening?

I’ve mentioned many times in this space that my husband is a sales director in the telecom industry. He’s won multiple awards during his career, including his most recent Excellence Award for Revolutionary Sales Performance. Just today (as I’m writing this), I looked at his LinkedIn profile and said, “Wow! You actually sound impressive.”

His stellar sales skills are somewhat surprising to me and I tell him so often, because of the many times I’ve had to ask him, “Are you listening to me?” You guys tell me, is that just a husband thing or what? At any rate, he must be listening to someone – specifically his clients – since, as we all know, being a great listener is at the top of the list of must-have skills you need if you’re going to make a living in sales.

I hope you’ve noticed our fairly new “Sales Boost” section at the very beginning of each issue. It gives you five steps to propel your sales forward every month. This time around, step one addresses selling smarter by listening closely. As with every issue, we begin with a quiz. The October quiz assesses whether you’re truly paying attention to what your clients are saying. If you’re not, chances are considerably less that you will be getting their business. Take it and see how you measure up. If you find yourself falling short in some ways, we follow with several tips to help you listen with purpose.

Besides listening to what your clients need from you professionally, take note of personal snippets. You can better stay connected and top-of-mind by reaching out to them with relevant information, not only about business interests, but about their hobbies and other passions.

In step four, we provide tips for keeping in touch. Sales author and trainer Jeff Goldberg advises you to set up Google alerts for topics that are important to your clients, including those on the fun side. “I have a client who loves to golf, but according to him, he stinks at it,” says Goldberg. “When a good golf tips article comes along, I send it to him.” I love that approach because, while it’s a cheeky and playful way of acknowledging his client’s shortcomings on the links, it also lets the client know that Goldberg is truly paying attention and willing to give him a helping hand, not just staying connected to make a sale.

As for giving a helping hand, don’t miss our cover story on awareness campaigns. We highlight several ways your peers are giving back to their communities and building awareness, funds and goodwill. While their efforts aren’t often about increasing sales, their good deeds don’t go unnoticed, and philanthropy is rewarded with other opportunities for business. “Being focused on philanthropy allows us to separate ourselves from the pack,” says Tony Poston at College Hill Custom Threads (asi/164578).

“It also gives us the warm and fuzzies”.

I hope this issue gives you the warm and fuzzies too (and great ideas). Enjoy!