Your buyer has a preferred listening style. And you do too. Great salespeople know how to determine the buyer listening style. Then they use that style to make it easy for the buyer to understand the message. In a previous post, Fundamental Communication Styles, the four basic styles in which people communicate. In this post I focus on how best to present information so the buyer understands it.
The Buyer Listening Style
Many studies have shown each of us has a preferred listening (or learning) style. Some of us prefer listening and speaking. We are known as auditory learners. When we learn from illustrations, graphs, written words, we are visual listeners. We learn best by seeing the information. Sometimes we learn best by actually touching or experiencing the information. Then we are kinesthetic or tactile learners. Kinesthetics learn best by doing. Great salespeople know when they present to buyers in the way they learn best they are more likely to favor us.
Selling To Auditory Listeners
If you, great salesperson, learn by speaking and listening primarily then selling to auditory listeners will be easy. Asking good open-ended questions and listening intently to the buyer’s answers will match the buyer listening style. The advantage of having an auditory listener as a buyer is you can communicate well in almost any medium. These folks only need the words. So by phone, video conference or in person works with these buyers.
Auditory listeners are identified from the words they use. Salespeople can recognize this buyer listening style when they hear: “tell me more”, “explain how this works” or “let me ask you about …”. To get feedback the salesperson might ask: “how does this sound?” or “can you explain your concern?”. This listening style won’t need fancy charts and graphs or demonstrations. Just good verbal descriptions of your proposal.
Selling to Visual Listeners
Visual buyer listening style wants to see your proposal. These buyers prefer written documents, graphs and photos or videos. They need to see with their own eyes what you are talking about not just the words. You can use a photo of the product and ask: “how do you see yourself using this?” Or a chart showing cost reduction would get a response like: “Oh, that’s what it would look like.” When you communicate with by visual leaner by phone, use detailed word descriptions to paint the picture in the buyer’s mind. Video conferences are great ways to show the visual learner important facts. And written proposals will be a combination of words and illustrations.
Salespeople recognize visual learners by the words they use. Listen for words like “see”, “look”, “show me”, “imagine”, “picture”, etc. You can use these words, too, when speaking with a visual buyer: “Imagine yourself behind the wheel of this beauty!” or “Can you see a way to make the down payment today?”.
Selling To Kinesthetic Listeners
These buyers are tactile learners. They live in 3D. Kinesthetic listeners want to not only hear about and see what you are selling but want to touch it, hold it or otherwise experience it. Bring your product to the meeting if you can. Or bring your buyer to the product. If you are selling an intangible your description will be full of emotional words to draw the buyer into the experience. When the buyer cannot physically handle the product, use detail rich graphics or videos that allow the buyer to experience the benefit of buying your product.
Kinesthetic buyers describe the product in physical terms: “sturdy”, “right size (color, taste, etc.,)”, “it’s very functional”, etc. They may talk about how it makes them “look” or “feel”. The tailor might ask the buyer: “do you like the fit of this suit?” Or the clerk in the sports store could ask whether the tennis racket “has the right weight”. After a software demonstration, the salesperson might ask: “Do you feel the application would reduce your costs?”.
What You Can Do Right Now About Buyer Listening Style
- Learn the three buyer listening styles
- Be aware of which style your buyer prefers
- Practice communicating with the buyer in their style