May 25, 2004

News & Opinion: Selling Means Listening

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 3:47 PM – Filed under: Big Ideas & New Perspectives

There is a special report in June issue of Inc. magazine that is devoted to sales. I usually gloss over articles about sales. I know sales is important, but sales articles never get me pumped up.
The first article in the report is about Dan Weinfurter and his company Capital H Group. Weinfurter is a GE alum and bought a Milwaukee-based company to start Capital H. As a fellow GE alum who lives in Milwaukee, I had to read the rest of the article.
Weinfurter uses Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play by Mahan Khalsa (FranklinCovey 1999) in his sales training sessions. From the article:
[Malan Khalsa] contends that selling is a "dsyfunctional activity because so many people try to sellpreconceived solutions without listening to what clients want or ascertaining their needs. His enlightening approach to selling is instead based on the mantra: " We and our clients share identical, mutual self-interests: We both what the same thing...a solution that truly meets the client's needs," Khalsa writes.
The trick, as Wienfurter sees it, is to teach salespeople how to gather as much information about a prospect as possible, and then to offer them something they will value. But you must go about this process unobtrusively. "The natural inclination of people in organizations is to not want tell you things because they're afraid of being sold," Weinberger says. "You need someone very good to ask the right questions and get at the truth." [pg. 71]