#Listening as a #Success Factor for #Sales and #Negotiations with Jürgen Scherer

Have you ever noticed how rushing conversations and negotiations can create unnecessary misunderstandings?  Or even cause us to miss the point which can lead to critical business outcomes? How can you intentionally listen leading to more effective, innovative solutions?

Feedback loops integrating asking, listening, connecting and developing are key towards successful negotiations and building strong business relationships. 

With over 30 years of international business management experience, Juergen Scherer shares how he puts this into practice and how this has had a huge impact in the business world. He is a Business Consultant, Coach and Lecturer at BXB Exchange, and a Senior Executive & Member of Executive Committees. His experience ranges in many areas with a strong focus on Sales, Key Account Management, and Procurement / Supply Chain Management within Global FMCG, Chemical and Industrial Packaging Industries.

In this episode, Juergen talks about reflective listening and how it is needed for negotiation and sales with business partners to reach a win-win-win solution. 

“Listening is a core element. And it’s often overlooked…It is a combination of asking, listening, connecting, and developing.” 

– Juergen Scherer 

Listen IN Notes:

00:39 – Talking about his first conscious recognition of the power of listening: reference to Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, particularly one which says, ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood.’

03:16 – One exercise that struck him the most on the power of listening: a seller-buyer negotiation role-play called the orange quarrel

07:13 – Listening as a significant step in combination with other steps you need to develop relationships important for negotiating with your business partners.

10:34 – What is reflective listening, and how does this help in the conversation or negotiation process?

16:04 – How superficial conversations leads to massive misunderstandings

20:25 – Reflection on the pace Juergen speaks: One way to give your own thinking enough time even as you speak.

21:44 – Referencing material by a marketing professor talking about the responsibility that comes with saying, ‘I understand.’

24:51 – Why is it not good enough to ask a question with a yes or no answer: a classic example for a closed question.

28:05 – Deepening relationships between companies more than just being transactional

30:56 – ‘Connect and develop’ — Juergen shares his personal experience with Procter & Gamble and the start of open innovation among companies

35:56 – How to understand unmet or unspoken needs — asking open questions, listening, ensuring that there is some understanding is the starting point for developing the solution. 

39:10 – Creating innovation, ideas, and solutions and nurturing relationships

40:46 – Advice for people just starting out in their careers: Self-awareness of those aspects of listening, seek out training opportunities, practice each and every day and seek out feedback.

Key Takeaways:

“Listening is a core element. And it’s often overlooked. But it only makes sense, and it only is a component of moving forward and achieving something if it is in a sequence of activities. It is a combination of asking, listening, connecting, and developing.” – Juergen Scherer 

“Everything in a relationship, not only in a business relationship…is built on mutual trust. And this is where I believe listening has an enormous influence as a trust-building factor.” – Juergen Scherer 

“The reality is, two-thirds of global trade is in business to business…And in a B2B context, what we are talking about is a continuous process over days, weeks, months, years. It is a constant coming back to conversations, to negotiations, to trust-building steps, to relationship management, and back to the listening aspect.” – Juergen Scherer 

“What we both agreed on as mutual understanding a week ago might have changed. So don’t assume that once you have achieved this understanding, it will stay forever. It won’t. Because all our life circumstances and business circumstances are moving targets. We know that, and new things could have happened. So I need to start over and reassure. And again, ask, listen, and understand before I move forward.” – Juergen Scherer 

“The open question asking, the listening, the ensuring that there is some understanding is the starting point for developing the solution.” – Juergen Scherer 


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