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Listen, Learn and Earn More
By Arnold Sanow   Printer Friendly Version

Many people assume that to be good in sales you need to constantly talk. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, the most successful sales people are those who are active listeners. By listening you not only become more likable but you hear the wants, needs and objections of your potential clients. The problem is too many times we focus in on what we want to say or our "sales pitch" without really hearing what the potential client really wants. According to Dean Rusk, "The best way to persuade people is with your ears --- by listening to them". To persuade, influence and motivate others to purchase our products and services --- and earn more money --- become an active listener.

Follow these 6 rules of active listening:

  • Limit your own talking - You have two ears and one mouth. The more you listen the more opportunity you'll have to find out what the customer really wants.
  • Don't interrupt - By interrupting the client, sensitivity, rapport and commitment are all killed. Although at times it seems expedient to interrupt, this perceived lack of respect for the prospect helps to deteriorate the relationship and makes it harder to close the sale.
  • Notice nonverbal communication - Only 7% of the message our client is communicating is through the words he/she uses, 38% is through tone of their voice and 55% is through their body language. This means that 93% of the message that someone communicates is conveyed by body language and tone of voice. Therefore, if you're talking to a prospect and they start doing things like, crossing their arms, crossing their legs away from you, yawning, leaning back, looking bored or avoiding eye contact, you need to "listen" to their body language and not only their words.
  • Don't only think about what you're going to say next - Too many times we are so concerned about we want to say that we don't hear what the other person is really saying. By not paying total attention to our client, we "sell" them on what we think is important and not what they really want. This frustrates the potential client and in many cases we lose the sale.
  • Talk to your client in a conducive setting - To get others to listen to us and have them focus on the substance of our message, distractions must be minimized. Is your office too hot? Too cool?, Is the phone ringing all the time?, Are you answering the phone while talking to them?, Are there other people around?, Do you have distracting habits? To make sure active listening takes place, you must alleviate all distractions.
  • Paraphrase what has been said - To avoid misunderstandings, it's important to repeat back what the client has told you. The problem is that when you talk, how you say something and the words you use may have a different meaning to the client. Many times we say, "Do you understand? Or does that make sense?" In most cases the client will say, "yes". The question we really need to find out is, "what did they understand?" And since it may seem rude to ask that question, we need to repeat back what they said to make sure we are both hearing and understanding the same thing.
Too close more sales we must determine the wants and needs of our clients first and then work backwards to determine the best products and services for them ---- And the best way to do that is through active listening.

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