Listen to Understand, Not to Reply

One of the most powerful lessons I learned early on in my career is the power of effective listening in sales.

If you are selling a product or service instead of listening, your business life is limited. By listening actively, you’ll create the kind of customer loyalty and sales pipeline that you currently dream of.

Listening in sales is crucial

People appreciate you more when you take the time to listen to them. They appreciate when you understand their issues and can empathize with them. Actively listening to your customers enables you to deliver solutions.

Unfortunately, many salespeople get fixed on selling their product or service. When you do this, your lead will feel pressurized. They won’t feel cared for. They are less likely to buy, and more likely to never deal with you again.

Consider walking into a phone shop and the sales assistant asks if they can help you. Before you have had a chance to explain what you are looking for, the assistant has launched into their pre-prepared sales pitch. How does this make you feel?

I suspect you feel like a commodity, the target for a quick sale, inferior to the needs of the sales assistant, and as if your needs don’t matter. Any relationship that you had, or hoped to have, with the phone shop has been destroyed. You’ll leave frustrated and vowing never to visit again.

Listening skills in sales deliver multiple benefits

When a salesperson employs effective listening, it helps to build the kind of insight that is required to build deep and long-lasting customer relationships. When you listen properly, you’ll find your customer:

  • Feels respected and valued

  • Is more confident in the solution you propose

  • Will have fewer objections

You’ll save time, be less frustrated, and sell more effectively at better prices. The time you save can be spent on generating more sales, and your reputation as a problem solver will win you more referrals.

Active listening exercises for sales

When you listen actively, you build rapport, avoid miscommunication, and develop trust. For most people, though, this doesn’t come naturally. You must learn to practice active listening, creating habits that many salespeople don’t possess. Avoid the mistake of rushing to close, and instead practice doing the following in every conversation you have:

  • Never go into a conversation knowing what you are going to say

  • Ask open-ended questions that encourage the customer to explain their problems in detail

  • Don’t interrupt

  • Clarify your understanding by repeating back and asking further questions

  • Take notes to let the customer know you are focused on getting things right

  • Mind your body language, and your customer’s

  • Clarify that you are listening by nodding and maintaining eye contact

It’s important to listen to a whole conversation before starting to form a reply. As Stephen Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

This is a common mistake that salespeople make. They hear something to which they can relate their product or service and start to formulate an answer. While you are doing this, you tune out of the remainder of what the customer is telling you.

Are you talking too much in sales?

If you ask a roomful of sales coaches what the primary traits of successful salespeople are, you will probably hear a list a little like this:

  • Care about the customer

  • Confidence

  • Resilience

  • Insightfulness

  • Honesty

  • Focus

  • Optimism

  • Curiosity

The foundation of all these traits is the ability to be a good, active listener. As Diogenes said, “We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.”

Are you talking too much in sales? Effective sales techniques and a sales mindset are crucial to your success in sales. If you would like to fast-track your results in just 12 weeks, my sales acceleration program is for you.

Are you the right fit for this unique opportunity? Take this Accelerate Pulse check to find out now.

Publish Date: 4/23/2021 12:00:00 AM
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Listen to Understand, Not to Reply
One of the most powerful lessons I learned early on in my career is the power of effective listening in sales.
If you are selling a product or service instead of listening, your business life is limited. By listening actively, you’ll create the kind of customer loyalty and sales pipeline that you currently dream of.
Listening in sales is crucial
People appreciate you more when you take the time to listen to them. They appreciate when you understand th…

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