A common death trap salespeople fall into is having "happy ears," meaning, they tend to hear what they want to hear. In actuality, what they (salespeople) heard does not reflect the real intent of what the prospect said.
The cure to "happy ears" is to be skeptical, yet nurturing. Your prospect says: "I like what you are saying, and your product is a good fit!" You respond: "I appreciate your kind words. When you say 'good fit,' what exactly do you mean?" This is a reversing technique that will show you the difference between nice platitudes and an actual sale. Never presume that the signals are positive---always verify.
It is the saleperson's responsibility to:
- Determine the prospect's intentions and expectations.
- Help the prospect be more specific and define any ambiguous terms or phrase that may be misinterpreted.
- Tie up any loose ends.
- Make sure all parties to a conversation or meeting are in sync with what transpired and what is supposed to happen next.
Make it a practice to recap the conversation after interactions with the prospect or clients: "Let me quickly recap what we discussed to make sure we're all on the same page and we didn't leave anything out." Then, review the conversation and ask, "Does anyone have anything to add, or..did I miss anything?"
Eliminating potential misunderstandings today reduces the opportunity for unfulfilled expectations tomorrow. In the New Year, make it a habit to prevent yourself from experiencing "happy ears." If you do and you become disappointed, just remember Sandler Rule #30: "You Can't Lose Anything You Don't Already Have."