Proposal Writing Articles
Proposal Writing: Effective Listening Skills Improve Chances
Listening skills training, for some reason, is not high on the hit
parade of topics in a typical sales training agenda.
Most sales people are trained to give presentations, to overcome
objections, or to give or ask questions or information.
Listening skills training, when taught, is covered in the remaining hour
of the sales training agenda.
To help sales people understand the importance of listening in the sales
process, let's talk about how we listen.
Listening does not take place in the ears. Hearing takes place in the
ears. Listening takes place between the ears.
WE LISTEN WITH OUR HEADS.
Listening is an intellectual adventure.
We need to evaluate more than just the words. We need to become
aware of the communicating styles, learning preferences and
personalities of our clients. That information guides us in how we
receive, accept, and react to what we hear.
We need to think through how the messages affect our business and
personal lives and we need to create plans for what to do with the
If we do not understand the words and their meanings, we need to
ask questions, make comments, or seek clarification so we can make
WE LISTEN WITH OUR EYES
Listening doesn't just involve hearing the words. We need to watch the
person's body language and facial expressions to ensure the nonverbal
messages match the oral ones. If we become distracted, we can miss an
important clue that indicates what we are hearing does not truly relate
This is not to say the client is lying. What the words say and how the
client delivers them might indicate uncertainty, confusion or doubt on
For example, if you ask a client, "Do you understand?" the response
might be "Yes."
However, the word "yes" might be accompanied by eye movement, a
facial gesture, or a shrug of the shoulders that might signal you are
hearing what you want to hear.
On the other hand, if you do not maintain eye contact while you are
listening, you can send many mixed signals to the client. This may
indicate you are not interested in what the client is saying, you are
distracted by your personal agenda, your don't agree with what the other
person is saying, or that you flat out don't like the person. It could
also signal that you feel intimidated or embarrassed by the person or
WE LISTEN WITH OUR VOICES
Listening does not involve total silence on the part of the listener. As
listeners, we need to prove to the client that we are listening and
understanding. We don't have to agree but we do have to understand the
other person's position. We cannot understand it if we don't truly
We listen with our voices by giving appropriate responses as the client
speaks. This can be as simple as the sincere guttural sound, "Uh huh."
It could be a response like,"I see," "I hear you," or I'm with you."
Or, you can display your understanding by repeating or paraphrasing the
WE LISTEN WITH OUR HEARTS
Listening is an attitude. To be a truly effective listener, "Ya gotta
That's a phrase I heard many years ago when I first started my sales
career. To really listen to someone, you must think at least as much
about the speaker as you do yourself. You have to adopt a mind set that
whatever the speaker says may contain some value for you.
Is this always true?
But you will never be able to know this unless you truly listen
carefully to what the person has to say. If you miss something, it's
your fault, not the speaker's.
We all like to think we have value. When you show people you care about
them, you gain their respect and their attention, and ultimately, their
business. Listening effectively creates a Win-Win situation that carries
value way beyond a casual or even a highly structured listening
Sales professionals who focus on, stress, and model good listening
skills own a competitive advantage.
Listen between your ears. If you don't, you lose.
Contact Al Now
MEd, CSP, PP
Certified Speaking Professional
Professor of Positivity
Proposal Writing Success
PO Box 24505
Pittsburgh, PA 15234
877-902-3314 Toll Free