Listening should be an active process and if you develop this muscle you will improve your ability to influence others and move them towards the outcome you want.
Here are our eight rules of active listening. How many of these do you already use? If you know that you have some weak areas on this list then try to be aware of them and focus on them next time you are in a sales situation. If you can listen better you will understand better, giving you insight and more opportunity to have more influence in the situation.
- Value the other party: show concern and demonstrate that you respect their position
- Listen to what is not said: pay attention to what is missing, beliefs masked as judgements and the tells of body language
- Limit the time you speak: most people have low attention spans. Salespeople can tend to talk too much- try to minimise your chunks of ‘sales speak’ to about 30 seconds. You may have heard of the ‘power of three’ before. Three is a magical number and if you limit yourself to three key points you will come across with more credibility
- Avoid thinking about what you are about to say: you will miss their message. Do not try and manipulate the conversation by asking questions which you already know the answer to
- Listen to the other party’s point of view: they have a unique and different perception of the world
- Repeat and reflect the other’s comments: this will ensure you have heard them correctly. Alternately, summarise their words
- Take notes: but avoid transcripts
- Maintain eye contact: do this whenever possible.
Do you have anything to add to this list? We would love to have your comments.