You may remember The Ramones, an American punk rock band from New York popular in the 1970s. They released many songs back in the day, but their advice in the song "Listen to Learn" is still timely now:
"You gotta learn to listen, listen to learn, You gotta learn to listen, before you get burned."
Successful salespeople learn to listen. Maybe they were burned in the past because they did not listen to a prospect or customer. Perhaps they missed clues that would have kept the sales process from stalling. For example, maybe they did not listen closely to pronouns customers used in their conversations and missed that the prospect referred to he, she, or perhaps they. On the other hand, maybe they interrupted, which is a sure sign one is not listening. If you miss a clue like this, you may never know other people were involved in the buying process.
Listening is the salesperson's superpower and is grossly underused. How can we improve our listening skills? Here are a few tips:
- Realize it takes work.
- Work to avoid distractions.
- Listen to understand.
- Remain quiet.
- Don't interrupt.
- Avoid judgment. Keep an open mind.
- Picture what is being said.
- Ask questions to check for understanding.
- Wait for a pause before clarifying.
- Work to feel what the speaker feels.
- Listen for what isn't said.
- Pay attention to their body language and eye contact.
- Listen for context. How does it fit together? What is the meaning?
- Be curious.
- Decide to listen.
Need to meet a higher goal this year? Want to do a better job managing or leading a team? Learn to listen, before you get burned!