20 WAYS TO IMPROVE LISTENING SKILLS
One of the greatest skills a sales person can learn is to become a better listener. Not a better communicator, but a better listener. Good communicators have already learned the art of being better listeners – and listening is one of the most important factors of communication.
Most people spend an average of 80% of their working day communicating. Of this time, 45% is spent listening, 30% is talking, 16% reading and 9% writing. Our memory is such, that on average we can only recall around 50% of what we hear – and within 2 to 6 weeks we can only recall 20 to 25% or less of the original message.
So here are some of the guidelines you can use to both listen better and recall more. (As a hint, try and learn [and apply] one or two at a time, and keep adding [learning and applying] more on a regular basis):
ASK QUESTIONS –
The more questions you ask, the more you learn about what you need to know.
DON’T INTERRUPT –
Allow them time to say what they want to say.
LOOK AT THE PROSPECT –
By looking at them, they see you are listening and absorbing what they are saying.
LISTEN FOR WHAT THEY DON’T SAY –
You can learn as much by thinking through what is not said or left out of their conversation.
DON’T JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS –
Don’t assume anyone uses the same words you do or even phrases sentences the same way you would like to.
DON’T DEEM THEM TO BE LIARS –
Just because they say something you don’t agree with, or they interpret things differently to what you do, doesn’t mean they are lying. And don’t ever allow your prejudices to get in the way of an agreement or compromise.
LISTEN TO HOW IT IS SAID –
We can concentrate so hard at times on what is being said, we overlook body language. Often the physical signs are more important than the words said.
DON’T ARGUE WITH THEM MENTALLY –
Mental arguments, just like physical arguments can set up barriers between communicators.
DON’T REACT TOO NOTICEABLY –
You may like the ideas but dislike the person. Don’t let this sway your thoughts.
DON’T PRE-JUDGE –
Just because the person may not appear as others in the same trade doesn’t mean they are any lesser an individual, have less intelligence or less money.
CONCENTRATE ON WHAT THEY ARE SAYING –
Actively focus on what they say, as opposed to how they say it.
WORK ON ONE MAIN THEME –
Try and narrow down what is being said so one or two main themes, then ask questions to check if you are on track.
KEEP YOUR EMOTIONS TO YOURSELF –
Leave your personal problems elsewhere. The more you think about your worries, the less you hear what is being said.
NOD OFTEN –
The nod shows you are attentive to what is being said. Periodically use phrases such as, “I see”, “That’s interesting”, “Good”, “Yes”.
STOP TALKING –
You can’t listen to what is being said while you are talking.
REFLECT THEIR FEELINGS –
Paint the necessary word picture that will allow them to re-live their feelings.
MIRROR THEIR BODY LANGUAGE –
Copy their physical mannerisms and they will feel more comfortable in your presence. Act as if you were looking in the mirror and slowly begin to copy their most pronounced gestures.
REPHRASE THE STATEMENT –
Once confidence has been built, rephrase the statement into a question.
QUESTION THE STATEMENT –
The questioning of any statement should give more than just a simple “yes” or “no” answer, and reinforce the statement.
CONFIRM THE STATEMENT –
This process not only allows for correction by the speaker, but can also draw out other factors which may not have been previously discussed.
The Oxford Dictionary defines Listening Skills as: “The ability to pay attention to and effectively interpret what other people are saying.” And no trues words could be said about effective communication exercised by the professional salesperson.
Having said that – above all – LISTEN.
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and of the 133 books he has written over the past 49 years, Peter has 68 Business Books to his credit, (but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale). Peter also has written 23 Christian books. One of Peter’s books, sold almost 2 million copies in the late 1970’s and is still selling well through second hand online marketers worldwide. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
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