3 Steps to Improve Listening Skills
By Jack Kasel
- Listen to learn
- Be a problem finder versus a problem solver
- Be “interested” versus “interesting”
Play The Sales Brew:
By Jack Kasel, Sales Development Expert, Anthony Cole Training Group
Even before you clicked on the play button for this Sales Brew, you were hearing things. Hearing is involuntary, it’s automatic, it’s one of the five senses we have been blessed with. Listening, on the other hand, is a skill that can be, and needs to be, developed in order for us to have great success in sales as well as our personal relationships. Hello, everyone, this is Jack Kasel bringing you another Anthony Cole Training Sales Brew.
If you were to focus on two things to improve your sales success, those two things should be asking GREAT questions and then listening for the response. Think about it – how much more effective would you be in sales? Also, how many conflicts could be avoided in our personal relationships if we were better at asking questions to clarify and then listening, I mean really listening, for the response and the meaning behind the response?
When we work with our clients, we coach them that two things can happen when you ask a question:
- You can listen to respond.
- You can listen to learn.
If we choose (and yes, it is a choice) to listen to respond, then we are thinking about ourselves, our products and/or our services. In that case, we are doing more “hearing” that listening. If we choose (there’s that word again) to listen to learn, then our focus and attention is on what the other person is saying. If we listen to learn, then other things have to happen. We have to pause and process the information we just heard. We need to ask clarifying questions or make clarifying statements. When that happens, we know what the other person said, and more importantly, the other person knows that we know what they just said.
If we choose to listen-to-learn, we will start picking up on soft or ambiguous words. We can hear things like “I would like to have better customer service” OR “I need to improve my cash flow” OR “I need to be in a position to retire in ten years”. Each one of those statements can mean different things to different people. Our owner, Tony Cole, calls that “Mutual Mystification” which simply means each person thinks they know what was just said and the other party understood it. When we listen-to-learn, we pick up on those words and simply say “You just said something that I’m not sure I understood . . . what does “better” customer service mean to you, specifically?” I am extremely confident your sales will improve, as will your personal relationships, if you simply decide to keep the following thoughts in mind . . . during the entire conversation:
- I am going to listen to learn.
- I am going to be a problem finder and not a problem solver.
- I am going to be more “interested” rather than trying to be “interesting”.
This can only happen if you ask great questions and choose to listen and not just hear. Someone needs what you do, go find them and choose to really listen to what they have to say.