The Skill of Listening

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Sales is all about relationship building and good communication is at the heart of every relationship. Being a good listener and having the ability to ask appropriate and relevant questions is essential to a good relationship. The sophisticated salesperson understands that in order to truly help a customer they must practice good listening and question habits.

Many of us just want to know we have been heard and that the person we are communicating with cares about us and our feelings and opinions. Your customers are no different. They want you to listen to their needs and help them find solutions to their problems. Trust and rapport are extremely important parts of the sales process and showing your customer that you are truly listening to them will go a long way towards building trust and rapport.

Listening Skills Techniques

Let’s be honest, many of us have difficulty truly listening. We may think we are listening, but in actuality, we are not. As professional salespeople, we tend to be high energy and with that high energy may come a sense of wondering “What’s next?” We look at the speaker and nod as if we are intently listening but, instead, we are thinking about that next sale or all the work we have to do back at the office. In school, we are taught how to speak and write properly but there aren’t any listening skills classes. Fear not though! There are some things you can do to improve upon your listening skills.

Below are four simple techniques you can utilize to increase your listening skills:

  • TM2 – Tell me more. As the speaker finishes, say, “Tell me more about that.” This shows your listener that you have genuine interest in what they are saying and will allow you to gather more information from them.
  • “W” – Wait! As you’re listening, imagine there is a big “W” on the speaker’s forehead reminding you to “Wait!”. Let the speaker finish what they have to say and then wait, allowing time for them to add more. This shows the listener that you are not just waiting for your turn to speak.
  • $ – Imagine that someone is willing to pay you $1 for each word the speaker says. Try to earn as much money as you can before you speak!
  • 80/20 Rule – Speak 20% of the time and let the other person speak 80% of the time. An easy way to ensure this is to allow the other person an extra turn to talk by utilizing the “Tell me more.” technique.

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