Recently somebody told me about a salesperson that was canvassing a middle-class neighborhood one day, hoping to talk about a new product she was introducing. As she approached one home a young boy was sitting on the front step. She asked the boy if his mom was home, and the boy replied that she was. The lady rep knocked on the door but got no response. She knocked again, this time a bit longer and stronger, but again there was no response. He looked down at the kid sitting on the step and said, “I thought you said your mom was home.” The boy said, “She is, but this isn’t where I live.”
Another fellow I heard about came home one night to a dark house. After flipping on a couple of lights he finally saw a note on the refrigerator door that read, “This isn’t working. I can’t take it anymore. I’m leaving and going to my mother’s house.” He opened the doors and saw ice cubes in the top and found his beer was cold in the bottom. “I don’t get it. What the heck is the problem,” he said as he shrugged his shoulders and closed the doors.
Virtually every time I ask salespeople if they are good listeners, they say yes, but trust me, after dealing with sales folks for over 40 years, I haven’t found very many that are. It will take both time and effort to break any bad listening habits that have developed, but the rewards will be significant.
One of the most common obstacles to good listening occurs when you start framing your next question in your mind or planning what you’ll say next. In doing one of these, you’re missing what they’re saying. My best tip is to stay focused on your prospect and mentally echo what they’re saying as they say it.
Body language is as important to conveying meaning as the spoken word, so if you listen but don’t look you’ll miss part of the message. Eye contact also lets them know that you’re paying attention, so listen with your eyes as well as your ears.
Realizing how critical listening skills are; read the following questions, one at a time, and jot down the first answer that come to your mind, without trying to analyze any of them. You should answer all 8 questions in less than 60 seconds.
Ready… Set… Go.
- How many four-cent stamps are in a dozen?
- The average man has how many birthdays?
- Some months have 30 days; some have 31; how many months have 28?
- I have in my hand 2 coins that total 55 cents. One is not a nickel. What are the 2 coins?
- Is it legal if a man marries his widow’s sister?
- Do they have a 4th of July in England?
- How many of each animal species did Moses take on the Ark?
- If you had one match in a room where there was a kerosene lamp, an oil heater, and a candle; which would you light first?
Now check the answer key below to see how you did and determine if you really are a good listener.
1. A dozen is twelve, regardless of what you are counting.
2. One, the day you were born.
3. All of them…some just have more.
4. A half-dollar and a nickel.
5. If she is a widow then he is a dead man and, therefore, probably couldn’t marry anybody.
6. Sure, every country’s calendar contains July 4th.
7. It was Noah. Moses was the Ten Commandments guy.
8. The match.
If you missed any of the answers, it was probably not because of lack of academic knowledge, but rather because of poor listening skills. Start working on your improvement plan now. One thing that will help is reading my book, Sell is NOT a Four Letter Word. Take a free peek here.
How about using the Speak Your Mind box below to share your favorite listening tips with the other readers? We would all like to hear what you have to say.
©2014 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC