Communication is an instrumental part in our life. But we just don’t communicate with our mouth. Active listening is necessary on how effective we communicate—not only in sales but also in life. Even though our ears are capable of picking up so many words, our brain doesn’t necessarily process all of them. In fact, most people usually only remember about 17 to 25% of the things they listen to.
When talking with a customer or prospect, put yourself in the lower power position instead of a higher position. This allows you to enhance your ability to understand where your customer is coming from. Listening is a skill. It’s a lost art. But if one can hone in on this skill, one will instill TRUST, build relationships, and in the end increase sales performance. Listening helps us better understand the customer.
Is there a coincidence that SILENT and LISTEN have the same letters?
Here are my 5 rules of active listening:
1. Maintain Eye Contact
In the science of nonverbal communication, the most crucial portion of the body is the face. And the most important part of the face are the eyes. When maintaining eye contact, you have no choice but to pay attention—just don’t stare. Some studies show that words only convey about 7% of what people are trying to say. The other 93% is communicated through facial expressions and the tone of their voice.
2. Don’t Interrupt. Be SILENT
Is there a coincidence that SILENT and LISTEN have the same letters? Don’t act too soon with a solution. It’s not about the nail video exaggerates not listening but it has an important lesson: Don’t interrupt. Often times, we as sales professionals, go into a sales encounter acting like a superhero. We’re here to fix the problem without listening to the customer. Sometimes the customer isn’t ready to address or fix the problem. Sometimes they just need someone to listen. Don’t try to fix it. You just need you to listen.
How to Listen to UNDERSTAND Instead of Listening to RESPOND
3. Take Notes
The Association of Psychological Science reported that students who physically took notes received a memory boost. You retain more information if you write it down. It also shows a customer that you’re an active listener.
4. Summarize What You Heard
By summarizing and recapping your conversation eliminates any miscommunication. It allows you and the customer to be on the same page and come to an agreement of how to move forward along with proper expectations.
5. Pay Attention to Body Language
You’ve heard the old saying “Actions speak louder than words.” The eyes are the most expressive, but so are other parts of the body. Facial expressions, voice tone and loudness, hand gestures, and posture are all signs of communication. By understanding body language more effectively, we can decrease our chances of being misunderstood.
So in conclusion, work on active listening by following these simple rules. If you do, you will instill trust, build relationships, and in the end increase sales performance.
Greg Hahn is known for entrepreneurial vision and translating vision into revenue generation and productivity, thriving in a diverse and fast-paced executive environment. Throughout his sales management career, he has led several sales teams toward positive growth. His most recent accomplishment was with The Blue Book Network. In just two years, he was able to reverse an under performing region to one of the top regions in the company in 2015. Greg specializes in online marketing including website consulting, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and social media marketing.