My fifth grade teacher was a horrible woman. She was mean and strict and I’m pretty sure an understudy for the Wicked Witch. And yet, I badly wanted to please and impress her.
Every day, school was like a game show and we did our lessons and listened to her intently...except for the part when she asked the question. Then, hands shot in the air and we did our best monkey impressions (“O-o-o-o-o-o-o...!!!!!!!) in an effort to be selected by the aquaphobic broom rider.
This experience is recalled often (too often) when I speak to salespeople. My sentences are cut off and I am interrupted. No one imitates a monkey, but the experience has a familiarity to it just the same. Suddenly, I’ve become my fifth grade teacher.
<<Hold on a second. Does this mean that I’m the Wicked Witch? Are the Flying Monkeys at my disposal? Cool!>>
A good listener uses not only his or her ears but the entire body. Eyes are locked on the speaker. The head bobs up and down in agreement. Leaning into the speaker demonstrates interest.
And absolutely, positively no interruption.
When we think of the traits of being a good salesperson, often times the skill set is focused on persuasive abilities and charm and aptitude and knowledge and intelligence. Somewhere down the list is the art of listening.
Your goal is to make the speaker feel as though he or she is the most important person in the room and that his or her word holds great value to you. What a gift it is to be a good listener!
Bill Farquharson is a Vice President at NAPL. His training programs can drive the sales of printed reps and selling owners. Contact him at (781) 934-7036 or firstname.lastname@example.org