There are many myths associated with selling. One of the biggest myths is that it takes the ‘gift of the gab’ to succeed in sales. The reality is that being a good listener is far more important than being a good talker. There are plenty of training courses around covering listening skills. Real listening, however, is hard to learn as a skill.

Attitude, rather than technique, is the real driving force behind effective listening. Listening is easy when someone is interested. The human body comes with in-built listening capability as standard, both to words and to body language. Why do we need to learn what comes naturally?. You can learn techniques to give the impression of listening but it will require a rea interest in the prospect and helping to satisfy their needs to master effective listening.

It is hard to achieve a win-win solution without knowing what the other party needs. When a sales person is talking, they are not listening. This is true whether the talking is out loud or where the talking is going on in the sales person’s head. Perhaps they may be thinking what to say next or how to “steer” the conversation towards the “close”. Either way the seller has the attention focused internally rather than on the customer. The great bonus for sales people is that listening will form good foundations for the relationship and, by exploring the prospect’s needs and listening to the answers, bigger opportunities often arise.

The golden rule is to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Adapted for selling it is “sell unto others as you would like to be sold to”. I may be wrong, but I would guess that most people would prefer to have a sales person take a real interest in their needs and engage in a conversation to explore how the product or service may be suitable rather than being talked at.