Brian Tracey

Learn to Listen Well

A vital key to sales success is listening. The ability to listen well is absolutely indispensable for success in all human relationships. The ability to be a good listener in a sales conversation is the foundation of the new model of selling. It leads to easier sales, higher earnings and greater enjoyment from the sales profession.

Being A Good Talker is Not Enough

Many salespeople have been brought up with the idea that, in order to be good at your profession, you must be a glad-hander and a good talker. You have even heard people say, “You have the ‘gift of the gab’; you should be in sales!”

Focus On the Other Person

Nothing could be further from the truth. As many as seventy five percent of all top salespeople are defined as introverts on psychological tests. They are very easy going and other-centered. They would much rather listen than talk. They are very interested in the thoughts and feelings of other people and they are quite comfortable sitting and listening to their prospects. They would much rather listen than talk in a sales situation. Poor salespeople dominate the talking, but top salespeople dominate the listening.

Practice “White Magic” With Everyone

Listening has even been called “white magic.” It is too rarely engaged in by business people. When a salesperson develops a reputation for being an excellent listener, prospects and customers feel comfortable and secure in his or her presence. They buy more readily, and more often.

Practice the 70/30 Rule

You’ve heard it said that God gave man two ears and one mouth, and he is supposed to use them in that proportion.

Top salespeople practice the “70/30 rule.” They talk and ask questions 30 percent or less of the time while they listen intently to their customers 70 percent or more of the time. They use their ears and mouth in the right ratio.

Action Exercises

Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, resolve today that, from now on, you are going to dominate the listening in every sales conversation. Become comfortable with silence.

Second, practice the 70/30 rule in every sales conversation. Listen 70% of the time and only talk and ask questions 30% of the time.

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