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Our sales training workshops in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton and Calgary always focus on the power of paraphrasing in understanding your buyer’s needs. While repeating what your client said in your words is the definition of paraphrasing, capturing their feelings goes one step further. It rises above the words to the heart of what your buyer is expressing. Here’s how it works and why it’s so effective in establishing strong relationships.
It’s a well-known fact that Great Salespeople are excellent listeners. They ask great questions, get great answers and actively listen to their buyers to understand their motivators and reasons for making decisions. They’ve learned to SHUT UP and STOP TALKING about how their great new product is a game changer. They investigate and probe to find areas of pain or opportunities for gain in their buyer’s world.
Smart Salespeople have learned the skill of basic paraphrasing and push themselves one step further in mastering this art common to top-performers.
When addressing a group of Salespeople years ago, I asked someone to share their experiences on a recent dream vacation. You know, the bucket-list kind of trip that you will never forget. A mother quickly held her hand up and shouted “Disneyland!”
I replied with one of my favorite techniques of getting people to elaborate. “Tell me more…”.
She said she just took her two young girls to Disneyland because they are huge fans just like she was when she was little. She always wanted to go, but her family simply couldn’t afford it at the time. So off the family went to experience Disneyland with two little girls who couldn’t sleep many nights before leaving. They took amazing pictures and will never forget the experience. It was worth every cent!
“Wow! So, Mom got to take her two girls on a trip of lifetime that she always dreamed of. Sounds to me like there were 3 little girls on that trip.”
I will never forget the look on her face. She smiled and said one word with suppressed emotions. “Yes!” and quickly sat down. I had goosebumps because I knew that I had managed to hit the proverbial nail on the head and managed to conjure up some feelings that she wasn’t expecting at the time. Yet the moment only lasted a minute and still sticks in my head today.
I paraphrased by listening to her words and her feelings and interpreted them. I tried to put myself in her shoes wanting to be a great parent and provider and let her girls have the most memorable experience at that specific time of her lives. While the memories of being a Disneyland fanatic might trade themselves in for other passions, the trip to Disneyland would forever be etched in their brains.
It’s one of the leading qualities of top Salespeople. It allows you to be in touch with what your buyers feel, need and want. The best thing you can offer your client’s is your sincerity and authenticity to represent their best interests. That’s the gold that trusted relationships are made from. Those Salespeople make more sales, get repeat business and referrals because of their commitment to their buyer’s welfare. Smart Sales Managers encourage this behavior because these Salespeople get their unfair share of buy because of it. That can justify small price increases and shut competitors out to steal business.
Capturing the words of what your buyer says is great. Frankly, I’d estimate that 1 out of 20 Salespeople actively do it. Paraphrasing the feelings of your client goes one step further. It results in a psychological connection that makes you easy to like. We all know that is a huge influencer in the sales process.
However, I must be brutally truthful. It takes a very long time to master this skill. Ask anyone who is a professionally trained therapist. It takes years to ace this ability and provide the right sounding board for clients.
Now wouldn’t that be a great advantage to you as a Salesperson?
Know that in its most basic form you are already paraphrasing, however, you tend to do it when you’re confused. You ask for clarification to understand exactly what the other person is saying. Practise by paraphrasing simpler forms of communication. Focus on paraphrasing the words and content of what you’re hearing. When you’ve mastered that, push yourself to the next level by feeling and capturing the emotions that your buyers reveal to you. It’s one of the most powerful skills to making more sales.
Paraphrasing is one of The 5 Success Skills of Professional Salespeople and is detailed in our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money available on Amazon. If you prefer online sales training, check out the free trial of our course The Sales Skills Incubator. You don’t need to enter your credit card to take the free trial. I’d love to see your comments on this post. If you liked it, please feel free to share on your favorite social media platform.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY