How To Improve Sales Listening Skills
“Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.” ~Sue Patton Thoele
1. Be Present & Stay Focused. Stop thinking about what you are going to say next and focus on what the speaker is telling you. Be curious and ask follow up questions to learn more about what they are telling you.
2. Pause Before You Respond. Take 2 full breaths before responding. It will ensure the speaker is finished and give them space to share more. It will also help you control the amount of talking you are doing.
3. Refocus If Your Mind Wanders. If you start thinking about your next meeting, travel plans, or what you have planned for the evening, bring yourself back to the moment.
4. Summarize & Bottom Line The Key Points. Play back to the speaker the key items you are hearing to ensure you are capturing the essence of what is being relayed to you. Make sure to take notes of these key items so you can revisit them as needed later in the meeting.
5. Focus On Listening & Understanding Versus Judging & Opinion. It is natural to want to share your 2 cents right away, or to be making judgments in your mind about what you are hearing. However, that is not focused listening. Stop yourself from doing this by placing your attention on learning, listening, and understanding. Ask open ended questions that begin with “What” to stay focused on listening and understanding.
6. Use Your Intuition. Whether you are on the phone or in person, you should be listening not only with your ears, but with your intuition as well. Notice the speaker’s breathing, tone, pace, and energy. There is a lot of information to be gathered and the more you pay attention to your intuition, the more effective your listening will be.
7. Never Talk Over Anyone. If the speaker is talking, simply wait your turn. Do not try to interject, and if you do, catch yourself, and say, “Sorry, please carry on…”
8. Ignore Internal & External Distractions. Image you are in a bubble with the person you are speaking to and they are the center of your universe. Try it out and watch what kind of impact it will have.
9. Resist Telling The Speaker How You Handled A Similar Situation. Pause yourself from sharing your own input and experiences until you have fully listened to what the speaker has to say.
10. Relax. The more calm you are, the more information you will gather from the person you are listening to since they will be at ease with you.
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