Guest Blog Post By: University of Ceramic Tile and Stone (UofCTS)
There are so many necessary traits to have as an architectural sales representative. From integrity to persistence, to patience and reliability, communication ranks among the top. How you communicate and when you communicate can be critical to your success. More importantly, understanding how to listen to your customers will impact your communication.
The first step to active listening is to identify the personality type to determine how to modify your communication approach. The best way to do this is to start off by asking questions to learn more about the person and their background. This will help you identify the personality type of your target audience.
Hear What People are Really Saying
In order to establish personality type, listening* is one of the most important skills you have that can help you determine the personality traits of your client. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness and on the quality of your relationships with others. We listen for the following reasons:
- We listen to obtain information.
- We listen to understand.
- We listen for enjoyment.
- We listen to learn.
- We listen to be genuinely interested in what others have to say.
*DEFINITION: Listening is to give one’s attention to sound. Listening involves complex affective, cognitive, and behavioral processes. Effective processes include the motivation to attend to others. Cognitive processes include attending to, understanding, receiving, and interpreting content and relational messages. Behavioral processes include responding with appropriate verbal and nonverbal feedback, which is only possible if you have listened attentively.
Just Listen, What to Do and What Not to Do
Active listening requires your attention! Here is a strategic approach to listening and collecting meaningful information to help you understand the client’s needs and to know how best to convey the value of your products and services. It requires you to facilitate the conversation by asking open-ended questions and then intently and strategically listening for key indications that will guide you through the conversation. Remember:
- DO make eye contact.
- DON’T look preoccupied.
- DO acknowledge what they are saying, even repeat and clarify.
- DON’T get distracted and lose attention or focus; have a checklist of items to cover.
- DO ask questions.
- DON’T be silent or non-communicative.
- DO re-cap the conversation when appropriate.
- DON’T leave the conversation abruptly.
- DO call for action at the end of the conversation
Stay in Contact
Timing is everything. Don’t assume anything. You need to be aware of the following important details:
- Project schedule
- When submittals are to be made
- When orders are to be placed
- When the work is to start
You need to help facilitate those schedules in order to protect your specification. Don’t forget –follow-up and follow-through are the two most essential things you can do to ensure your specification converts to an order.
Look out for more blogs coming soon! In the meantime, sign up for the UofCTS live course at Coverings 2023 in April.