There’s no question that listening is a major component of successful selling. Do you have any idea as to how well you listen?
I thought I was a very good listener and found out through personal relationships about a year ago that I wasn’t. What I learned was that I multitask (nearly all the time) and that definately hurts my focus in any one area. As a coach and communicator, it was hard to swallow that there was a deficit in this important area for me.
So the stereotypical shot of the husband nodding his head to his wife while she is talking, then she asks, “what did I say?” rings true for many of us.
There is hope.
As a Franklin Covey trainer, I know that the average attention span for most people is 5-10 seconds, so I didn’t beat myself up too badly. My goal was to improve, and focus on my strengths.
Once I actually realized this problem (and I do think I was in denial for a while) I began to really focus – when someone talked I made sure I stopped what I was doing or thinking and focused on them – just like re-learning how to skate or bike. Complete focus has helped me dramatically. I sometimes slip up on this, but generally speaking, in less than a few months, I became a much better listener – and sheesh, I talk about listening (for sales) for a living!
How can you develop your listening skills for maximum benefit?
1. Listen to someone speak for several minutes straight before even commenting. Focus on what they are really saying – because we often don’t say what we are really thinking. This allows you room to then ask some very interesting questions and get to the bottom of the issue.
2. Become an active listener – this means that you are a listener with a purpose.
3. Say key points about what you are hearing back into your own mind as someone is speaking. At the right time, offer that feedback out loud. This helps you from drifting from the conversation.
4. Know that as adults we dart in and out of thought. Focus on improvement, not on the deficiency. Make it a positive that you want to improve.
Results can be dramatic!