Win More Proposals by Speaking Less and Listening More
When most people think of communication, they think of speaking. When you’re an entrepreneur, a lot of your communication involves pitching yourself, your services and/or your products. However, I believe that entrepreneurs can be more productive and win more proposals when speaking less.
How? By listening more.
Listening well communicates more than words are often able. As entrepreneurs, we are often unilaterally focused on getting business and pitching that we forget to listen. Truly listen. Not just for key phrases we want to hear, but for what the customer is really saying.
One way to listen more is to ask questions.
The first business I started was focused solely on presentation and public speaking coaching and training. Needless to say, I still get many requests for this type of work. However, by listening more and asking the right questions I’ve been able to leverage these opportunities into contracts 4-10x the rate of a typical one-off presentation training session.
Many times we go into a pitch or proposal situation with the goal of communicating what benefits our products or services offer. Instead, turn the conversation around. Let the client tell you what they want to be pitched. Listen for what benefits are actually needed.
Here are some questions you may use to help you listen and figure how you may add value. Insert your product/service in the brackets. Listen carefully to the answers and build on questions to ascertainadditional information.
- What results do you hope to see by implementing [X]?
- Why do you believe your team needs[X]?
- What other factors influence whether or not you achieve [insert results from previous question]?
- What do you, personally, have to gain from purchasing [X]?
Your clients will tell you what they want and what they need. You just need to listen.