Six Steps to Improving Selling Listening Skills
With practice and conscious resolve, a salesperson can acquire the mental agility to become a better listener by mastering these six "mental listening exercises": Vince Lombardi once said, "It's not practice makes perfect, its PERFECT practice makes perfect
1) Learn to "listen ahead":
By "listening ahead", trying to anticipate where a discussion is leading to, during the dialogue, determining the conclusion in advance of your required response allows you to relax and improve information absorption
2) Learn to periodically validate communicated information:
By mentally striving to validate the accuracy and completeness of information points made by the prospect, especially during pauses in the dialogue, (which can be achieved with note taking), you can allow yourself to absorb more information easier, especially information forthcoming in the continued dialogue
3) Utilize "Active Listening" techniques:
By periodically, mentally summarizing the major points communicated by the prospect and voicing, reaffirming your interpretation of the points made back to the prospect you add a tremendous amount of clarity to the information exchanged thus far
4) Strive to understand versus "Judging":
By working to consciously understand what the prospect is saying versus the natural tendency of judging - approving or disapproving what is said will allow you to absorb what is actually said more than any other listening development technique
5) Use your eyes to "get the rest of the story"
By listening with your eyes, paying attention to the prospect's body language, their nonverbal facial and body movements or hand gestures you can see what the whole body is trying to tell you, not just the mouth!
6) Maintain a mental repertoire of common responses:
By mentally developing and rehearsing how you are going to strategically respond to common sales prospect purchase objections, for example, in advance of a sales call, allows you to listen more effectively. A comprehensive mental inventory of common responses will also give you more confidence in any selling situation.