Here are three things you can do to develop your listening skills:
1. Summarize what is being said in your mind when another person is talking. If you practice summarizing what is being said it forces you to listen to what is being said. A lot of times salespeople are busy thinking about what they are going to say next instead of listening to what is being said. By practicing summarizing you will keep your mind active on your prospect’s words and what they mean. It is a good idea to repeat back what your prospect just said to show that you were listening. You can use your own words, but convey the same thought that your prospect conveyed.
2. Listen not only to the words spoken but the experience behind the words. This is an advanced way to summarize what is being said. This is a deeper level of listening and will take time to master. Getting the experience behind what is being said is deeper than just understanding what is being said. It is getting to why is this being said and what are the emotions associated with what is being said. In selling people buy on emotion. If you are listening carefully to what is being said often you can pick up on those emotions that will cause your prospect to take action and do business with you.
3. Practice ignoring your inner voice. Your inner voice is always going. When someone else is talking you are actually talking to yourself. We talked about how you want to summarize what is being said. In order to do that, you have to train your inner voice. If your inner voice is talking about what you think about what is being said versus what is being said, you will miss vital information. Remember there is what is being said and there is what you are saying about what is being said. You have to train yourself to focus your inner voice on your prospect’s conversation not yours.
We have all heard the sayings about you having two ears and one mouth and how we should use them in the same proportion. However, listening is not something that comes naturally to most people. You need to practice your listening skills to be good at them.
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