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“..Some people see the glass half full. Others see it half empty. I see a glass that’s twice as big as it needs to be…” ~~ George Carlin

 

Recently, I sat in on a sales call where a software company presented their capabilities to a prospect.  At the conclusion of the call the prospect stated:

 

…I like what I see. There are many features you have that will help our company.  I need to better understand the costs, the status of the current terms with our existing provider, and our internal budget before we talk about next steps…


For those that have ever been on a sales call, you’ve probably heard a response similar to the one above.

 

If you are a seasoned professional, executive leader or someone that isn’t directly in the sales organization, you’d probably view the prospect’s comments with ‘cautious optimism’.  It’s not a ‘NO’; however there are many hurdles before we get to a ‘YES’.

 

If you are accountable for trying to bring in this new prospect, you might write a recap in the CRM system as this salesperson did:

 

“…They really like our product!  Our offering is a great fit for them.  With our competitive pricing, I’m sure we can oust the current provider.  We need to put forth a competitive price.  I’m very upbeat about the potential for us to land this client to our roster…”

 

How did we get from “Cautious Optimism” to this “Glass Half Full”, more like overflowing mindset?

 

In this instance, the salesperson is embodying a term I like to call  “Happy Ears”.

 

Here’s how the salesperson with Happy Ears selectively heard the feedback from the prospect:


…I like what I see. ………………. you ………………………..will help our company.  I need …. better ………………costs ………………………………………………………………………. …………………………. before ………………. next steps…

 

While it’s great to have an optimistic sales force, having your sales team listen with “Happy Ears” may be misconstrued internally, set improper expectations and demonstrate to the prospect that you’re not really LISTENING to them, and thus making it difficult to connect.

 

Three Key Steps to make sure “Happy Ears” are properly managed.

 

(1) Take Detailed Notes on Every Sales Call.
Reading back notes after a sales call can really help.  If your company has access to call transcription services (like
Transcribe Me) that’s even better.  This level of detail will enable you to ‘see’ what the prospect really said and meant.

(2) Summarize the Conversation Back to the Prospect.
Before ending your sales call, read back to the prospect what you’ve heard and have them “re-confirm” their next steps.  This clarification will also allow the ‘prospect’ to provide the timing to help set expectations.

(3) Another Pair of Ears.
When you’re able to do so, try to have another colleague or team member on your sales call so they can listen and interpret the prospect’s thoughts.  And if that person is not a member of the sales group…even better.  They’re less likely to bring their own ‘Happy Ears’ to the call.

 

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Lou Diamond:  Speaker | Author | Podcast Host | Master Connector | Leadership Coach | Consultant | Husband | Dad | CEO of Thrive