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Sales Consulting & Sales Training:

Listening Skills for Sales Reps

There is a general impression held by many both inside and outside the business world that salesmen are full of hot air. Many people associate the sales profession with the smooth-talking car salesman who wants to sell you a car that was owned by the proverbial little old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays. Reality is that most sales people are average everyday individuals who are friendly and considerate and have friends and families, just like people who are accountants, engineers, journalists, architects, house painters, scientists and the like. 

Unfortunately, it’s hard to travel far without coming across a sales rep who likes to talk, talk, talk and push, push, push. The most common personality types found in sales are admittedly not the best listeners. They can be impatient and more focused on closing the sale rather than listening to their customer’s needs. Even the best sales professionals can use a refresher on how to listen effectively.

Effective Listening Entails…           

  • Paying attention to the customer
  • Asking appropriate questions
  • Testing for understanding
  • Empathizing with the customer
  • Assuming value in the customer’s statements

Effective Listening Avoids

  • Holding more than one conversation at a time
  • Interrupting a customer
  • Changing subject or jumping from one topic to another

To become a more effective listener, we teach sales professionals to utilize the “LISTEN” communications model. This process increases personal effectiveness when selling or even dealing with others outside of the workplace.

L    Look Interested

I     Inquire with facilitative questions

S    Summarize mentally what your customer is saying

T    Test your understanding by paraphrasing information

E Empathize when a customer has a strong feeling or emotional reaction

N    Neutralize your feelings and learn to remain non-judgmental

Using this model, you will demonstrate to your customer that you care about their needs and are focused on finding an appropriate solution to their concerns.  Effective listening skills help you establish rapport and improve your credibility.  If you’re not listening to what your customer is telling you, how can you expect to recommend an appropriate solution?

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