Banyan’s Casebook Dec.2017- Listening

In this month’s case study we deal with the skill of listening and how it can have an impact on a situation.

Frederick, a sales representative of five years for a software company had responsibility for a new territory namely Western Australia, having been very successful in New South Wales.

He was very confident he could “clean up “in this new environment and make a very nice living for himself and his young family, his confidence was founded on the fact of his intimate knowledge of the product and his previous successes.

So confident of his skills, he elected not to acquaint himself with new changes to the product and thought they were minor, not really relevant to his sales pitch and process.

Before leaving for W.A. he had discussions with his national sales manager who whilst respected his considerable skills was a little worried about Frederick’s recent overconfident behaviour. He counselled him that his new territory had different characteristics to the one he was departing. Western Australians did not take kindly to be lectured by what was commonly referred to as “Wise men from the East”.

Frederick received a sales lead in the first week and headed off to see a prospective client who wanted to know more about the product. The client informed him he only had limited time to his next appointment so the meeting would have to be quite brief.

Opening discussions were mainly centred on Frederick’s career milestones and how we had managed to install a number of site-packages for his New South Wales clients. His “pitch” was exceptionally good outlining the many features the software could offer, except the client wanted to know more about the new additions that had been added and in fact was the main reason for contacting the company. He found himself struggling and noticed the client was increasingly becoming agitated. Clearly annoyed he halted the meeting without making a decision, promising to get back to him.

What might have Frederick done differently:

Listened to the new changes at the recent training session and performed his homework on the new changes when preparing his “pitch”.
Spend minimal time talking about his achievements, instead focusing on the client’s needs.
Take the time to understand the territory.
Concentrated on finding about the prospective clients possible requirements before the meeting.
Listen more talk less.

Please note.

I am happy to receive any comments readers may have  regarding this case study.

* Disclaimer
Please be advised resemblance to any persons contained in these scenarios living or deceased, is purely coincidental.

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Ken Wood