When Anthony first saw Nigel Green’s article about developing listening skills for salespeople, he knew it was time to ask him to be a guest on In The Arena. Anthony and Nigel met long ago through a mutual acquaintance but it was that post that reminded Anthony how much Nigel has to share with salespeople about listening, sales effectiveness, and scaling a sales force. This conversation is a powerful demonstration of that. You’ll learn some of the most common things salespeople do wrong in sales calls instead of listening to their prospects, practical things you can do to improve your listening skills, and common mistakes made in scaling a sales team.
Everyone communicates, but few listen. It’s especially true in sales.
Listening is about understanding. Said that way it makes perfect sense why salespeople need to be among the most intentional listeners on the planet. It’s only as we listen that we are able to understand what our prospects truly need, which is the only way we can know if we have the solution to that need. Nigel Green has built a career in sales management and is the founder and CEO of Evergreen, a B2B sales consulting firm. He consults for companies needing to improve their sales teams and is a sales coach for executives eager to grow their business by making sales process improvements. His insights into the skill of listening point out things every salesperson needs to master, so pay close attention to what he shares in this conversation.
You won’t know what to offer a prospect if you don’t listen to what they need.
Nigel Green tells the story of a time in the early stages of his sales career when his manager gave him a gift – a performance improvement plan. His sales were lagging and he needed to identify his weaknesses and build them into strengths. He spent time with the top sales performers in his company, expecting to discover their magical formulas for sales pitches and perfect closes. He was disappointed because he learned neither. But what he did learn was invaluable to his future success: the top performers knew how to ask questions and truly listen to their prospects. That skillset makes all the difference on a number of levels. You can hear Nigel describe the importance and power of listening skills for salespeople, on this episode of In The Arena.
Why would top performers not be on a performance improvement plan?
As Nigel Green told the story of how he was placed on a performance improvement plan early in his career by his sales manager, Anthony commented that he believes everyone needs to be on a performance improvement plan. Think about it: even the top performers should desire to become better at what they do. Improving performance is the name of the game. It’s likely why you are considering listening to this podcast episode. If so, you’re in the right place because Nigel and Anthony discuss one of the most important skills you can ever have as a salesperson: the skill of listening.
When speed to scale is what you want, you have to differentiate roles in the organization.
For successful sales organizations, the time comes when the volume of incoming leads demands that the team scale. It’s a great problem we’d all like to have. When that happens, a common mistake is to assume that the roles and responsibilities that currently exist within the team are going to be adequate to support the increased weight and volume of incoming clients. It’s typically not true. Nigel Green shares why it’s vital that growing organizations simplify role responsibilities and diversify the team as they move to scale, on this episode.
Outline of this great episode
- [2:54] How Anthony met Lewis Howes and their relationship led to Anthony meeting Nigel Green.
- [3:42] Nigel’s history in sales and the role listening plays in successful sales.
- [9:00] How Nigel discovered success is not about developing an effective sales pitch.
- [10:41] The things successful sales people do differently.
- [15:58] Why consulting is a double-edged sword salespeople must be wary of.
- [19:59] What salespeople need to change in order to become a better listener.
- [24:15] What it takes to successfully scale a sales organization.
- [30:05] If you’re going to hire the team, give them the tools they need.
Resources & Links mentioned in this episode
- Nigel’s website: www.FindEvergreen.com – get your worksheet to improve your listening skills
- Anthony’s post on the 3 levels of sales skills
- Nigel’s post: What Expert Salespeople Do Differently
- Selling Power
The theme song “Into the Arena” is written and produced by Chris Sernel. You can find it on Soundcloud
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