Active Listening is one of
the characteristic of a successful salesperson (Ingram, 2015). It helps in
understanding and creating customer value as well as increasing it.
Globalisation has resulted in the increase of products and marketers in the
market. This is where the necessity of Active Listening comes into effect.
Sales resistance is another
prominent factor affecting the sales process nowadays. Sales people should
adopt adequate measures to overcome this for the smooth and successful
operation of organisations. However, rigorous practice and keeping healthy
relationship with customers helps to overpower this kind of sales resistance.
A detailed study on the
importance of the above-mentioned factors is done in this report.
The process of actively
sensing, interpreting, evaluating and responding to the verbal and nonverbal
messages of customers is termed Active Listening (Ingram, 2015). It is an advanced
form of listening in which the listener not only grasp the words but also
understands the speakers body language. To avoid miscommunication, active
listening is important.
listening significantly reduces the nervousness felt during an interview
because it drives the listeners focus from what is going on inside the head to
what the needs of the perspective employer are. Placing focus on the
interviewer through active listening proves the person is interested in
challenges and successes of the organization and willing to help them to solve
problems (Doyle, 2017).
Doyle (2017) list some
examples of active listening techniques. Active listening techniques include
building trust, establishing rapport, demonstrating concern, nonverbal cue such
as nodding and eye contact, asking open ended questions, asking specific
questions etc. Employing these techniques impress the customer or any person
with whom you are dealing with.
A four-model hierarchy of
active listening is depicted in the SIER model. Effective Active listening
requires all these hierarchical activities to be carried out successfully and
in the proper sequence (Ingram, 2015). The four steps are
Sensing, Interpreting, Evaluating and Responding.
SENSING: Active listening
begins with hearing, seeing and receiving both verbal and nonverbal aspects. Concentration
is mandatory in this phase and it should be taken care to see that the buyer is
not interrupted so the message can be delivered in detail. For the sender to deliver the message
properly the receiver’s body language should be positive (Steil, 1983).
message is received, the salesperson must interpret and place it in meaningful
context. The buyer’s experiences, knowledge and attitudes should be linked to
the verbal and non-verbal elements of the information conveyed. Interpreting
helps to ensure that the receiver’s understanding corresponds to the sender’s
meaning (Steil, 1983).
listening occurs in the evaluating stage just after the interpreting stage.
Receiver should be able to sort fact from opinion. The receiver needs to judge
the message based on its strengths and weaknesses and how well it is liked or
disliked. Emotional as well as logical components are involved in the
evaluating stage (Steil, 1983).
an expectation and a must for active listening to be effective. Receiver should
respond to the sender for two-way communication to happen. The response
provides feedback to the sender on how well the message was understood and
encourages further interaction between the two parties. Responses can be both
verbal and non-verbal. Raising questions provide additional detail and
clarification (Ingram, 2015).
Listening is one of the most
underrated and unappreciated leadership skills (Conley, 2015). He claims that
being a good listener does not happen by accident. To be a good listener and to
listen effectively it takes time and effort. Conley (2015) suggests five
fundamental steps to be practiced being an effective listener.
Attending to nonverbal behaviour.
professional athlete continuously practices the fundamentals of their sport,
leaders and salespersons should continually practice these fundamentals of
listening to be an effective listener (Conley, 2015).
Ingram (2015) had a
different view on the keys to be followed to become an active listener.
According to him there are ten keys which a strong listener should practice.
A strong listener should
find the relevant areas of interest and must actively look for opportunities in
that, concentrate on the content rather than sticking on to delivery errors,
should not judge until the message delivery is completed, apart from listening
to facts he should focus on listening to ideas, gives less priority to take
notes, works hard at attending the message and takes care to exhibit an active
body state, knows how to concentrate and will not get distracted easily, use
complex material as exercise for the mind, will not react to emotional words
and does not get hung up on them, challenges and listen between the lines even
with slow speakers (Ingram, 2015).
SALES RESISTANCE (TYPES):
Any kind of opposition,
either objective or subjective to the buying process is termed as sales
resistance. Efficient salespeople try to understand the prospect’s stated and
hidden concerns through listening and questioning to overcome this sales
resistance (Sales Resistance, 2017).
Here I have selected SAMSUNG
Smartphone as the product. Basically, there are two major types of sales
resistance faced while marketing and selling a product. One is reasoned or
objective resistance which is created because of logical thinking and the other
is emotional or subjective resistance that comes from emotions or psychological
Reasoned or Objective
This kind of resistance
comes from Customer’s reasoning. Many competitors have emerged for Samsung in
the global market. Most of them avail their products to the customers with the
same specifications and feature at a lower price compared to Samsung. To some
at least, while comparing specifications and performance they claim that the
phones are being really overpriced as compared to the other phone. This makes
the customer to negotiate our product, because customer is more concerned about
the money and he is already having a product with similar features and the
sales offer just won’t work at this time. Here the customer is using logical
thinking and is not in need of our product and this decision is based on facts.
People nowadays go for a wide range of smart phones like iPhone, Vivo, Oppo,
Lenovo, Redmi and so on. This has made customers to change their mind and to
stick on to the new products.
Emotional or Subjective
There is a chance of
psychological motive behind this resistance. It may be because of distrust in
the product or due to previous bad experiences. Complaints have raised from
different customers about the slowing down and reduced performance of the
mobile phones. This creates a bad feeling about the product in customers which
prevents them from purchasing or even promoting the product. Either way, the
customer won’t accept the sales offer anymore.
RECOMMENDED APPROACHES TO OVERCOME SALES
we cannot change the mind of some people, we can change the minds of others. It
depends on the interaction with potential customers and the way in which the sales
resistance is addressed. Sales resistance can be reduced by adopting certain
measures and approaches.
respectful and professional with the buyers will help in reducing sales
resistance. Rather than being inactive, the customer should be convinced and
provide him an assurance that the problem will be solved. The customer should
feel that the salesperson is concerned about his product and problem and that
he is ready to render his service whenever required.
customer more knowledgeable and aware of the product will help to reduce his
fear of buying or owning the product. Apart from the negative side of the
product, the benefits and advantages should be exposed more. Try to convince
the customer that the current arrangements are improving. Give more priority to
what the customer is saying and try to make no arguments.
be phones with similar features and specifications available at low price. But
the brand name and the guarantee assured cannot be provided by these marketers.
Once the customer comes to know about the value and quality of the product,
even minor defects will be negotiated and a positive word of mouth regarding
the product from everyone will benefit the product and the organization in some
Active Listening and
overcoming Sales Resistance are two crucial steps included in closing sales.
Listening is the fundamental unit of interpersonal communication skills. It is
important to know the relevance of Active listening to be a successful marketer
as well as sales personnel. It takes time and effort to be an Active listener.
It can be achieved by following and practicing some key practices. Sales person
should be trained properly to deal with and overcome sales resistance. It is
mandatory to overcome sales resistance for the growth of the product and the
concerned organization. By adopting certain remedial measures sales resistance
can be overwhelmed.