Listening Is a Practicable Skill. — All Great Salespeople Got It.
Becoming a Better Sales Rep — Post #30
I’m sure you heard the cliché statement that you have two ears and one mouth and you should use them according to this proportion. However, I’m myself guilty of blabbering on end when I explain products or services — if I’m not focused.
And, the IF is an important word because listening is a skill you can actively practice and improve on if you put in the work and the focus.
I usually explain why something is important but as I wanna practice being less verbose, let’s skip that part. If you don’t know why listening is important in your sales work, you might wanna consider going back to your sales 101 classes. 😋 Or you have such tremendous speaking skills that you should write a blog post about it and teach us! (:
So, let’s get to practicing your listening skills!
Start Practising Your Listening Skills Now!
Most soft skills sound like they’re either innate or you “just learn it as you go.” However, you can be deliberate and strategic about really practicing them and getting better every day. Commit to some of the tactics below that really resonate with you and you’ll see that you’ll get better!
- Maintain Eye Contact With Your Lead: Okay, don’t be creepy about this one. Don’t overdo it. But, especially when they’re speaking, look into their eyes, follow their hands while they’re making gestures in their explanations. If they write something down or draw something, take a look at it and really consider what they’re showing you. And, it’s totally normal to look away here and there, but make mental notes and catch yourself if you’re looking away from them too long because this usually means that you’re drifting off or that you’re forming questions or responses and not paying attention to all the other things they’re saying.
- Pay Attention to Your Internal Judgments: Ask your mentor, a colleague, or a friend if they can help you with figuring out your tell tails of judgment. Do you make certain faces or do say certain words? And constantly be on the lookout for these. Because, once you start judging, you stop listening. But, there might be so much more to learn from your lead that you’re depriving yourself of by getting into a state of judgment.
- Don’t Interrupt: Folks, this is hard for many people, including all of my co-founders and me. But, always resist it, unless your lead is talking on end for 10 minutes or so. A good strategy is to write down thoughts rather than verbalize them immediately. Your leads will be impressed with you being able to follow them and really picking up on so many things they mentioned. On top, most people have some kind of outcome in mind while they’re speaking. If you interrupt them before they get there, they’ll immediately feel unheard and they’ll just feel the urge to get back to their storyline. Let them finish, your time to speak will come.
- Ask Questions Rather Than Stating Views: And when it’s your time to speak, ask questions, real questions. Questions that are based on the notes you were taking. Questions that only somebody would ask who really listened to them.
- Let Yourself Be Drawn Into Their Stories: People can sense it when you’re multitasking. Every human being is a master of picking up subtleties of communication. Some of us are better than others, but we all understand the basics to an insanely high level. This is how we survived as human beings. Seeing somebody’s face turn angry before they tried to kill us. Seeing somebody get scared while a tiger was approaching you from behind. Differentiating a real smile from somebody who loves you from a fake one from somebody who wants to take advantage of you. We might not all understand the science, but we’re very good at executing on this. So, it’s no surprise that your leads will be able to tell if you’re really listening or just pretending. So, look for the things in their stories that really interest you and allow yourself to be drawn into the conversion.
- Avoid Distractions: This is a follow-up to #5, so you can really execute on it. Put your phone away, seriously. Put your computer into do-not-disturb mode. Turn on the noise cancellation mode of your earphones. Close everything on your computer that doesn’t absolutely need to be open. And if this is really hard for you, you might want to use something to fidget with so you don’t end up doing other things.
- Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Cues: Listening goes beyond the words people say. Look at their faces if you’re talking in person or are on a video call. Pay attention to the pitch in their voice, their breathing pattern, their speaking pace. These are all cues that will tell you so much more than just their words.
- Visualize Their Word in Your Head: This might not be for everyone, but creating mental images helps you with two things: understanding what your lead is saying and remembering it. Mental images are so much stronger than words. Make sure you don’t drift off or you don’t add too many of your own elements to the mental image.
And most importantly, don’t think you need to do all of these things immediately. Pick some of these you really like and try to get better at them over time.
Write them down on a few sticky notes and place them at the edge of your screen so you’re reminding yourself of “paying attention to non-verbal cues” or “not interrupting.” If you’re in an in-person conversation, write them at the top of your notepad or put some other visual reminder on the table (something that will immediately remind you of the things you want to pay attention to, maybe a yellow piece of fabric, a bracelet, whatever works for you).
So, the only thing that can now hold you back from not improving on your listening skills is forgetting or neglecting to practice them. So, it’s all in your hands! (:
Make People Feel That You Truly Understand Them With Resonaid.
Resonaid is a tool that writes personalized messages for your sales outreach. It’s kind of an active listening tool that does the listening part for you when you’re doing cold outreach. It identifies unique and personal hooks that you can use to send out messages that are certainly customized for every single lead.
Make sure to give it a try, if you haven’t already!
Access Resonaid via the Chrome Web Store.
Resonaid is a tool that helps sales professionals with writing personalized messages for their sales outreach.
We recently released the first version of our product as a Chrome extension in the Chrome Web Store.
As we just went live this summer, you can currently test Resonaid for free and get large discounts by being an early user.
About the Author.
Teddy Lange is a co-founder at Resonaid and is responsible for business development and customer experience. Before joining Resonaid, he’s been a Sales Rep and Junior Sales Manager, and co-founded various companies. He’s currently finishing his graduate degree in Public Policy with a focus on communication at Harvard University. Feel free to reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.