ears monkeyIf life is a contact sport then sales is an ear contact profession.

Our ability to convey a relevant message in sales is undeniably important. Yet without matching the ability to share a message with the willingness to take in the information coming at us…we lose. If you want to open doors, open your ears.

When we talk too much, the conversation dynamic is more tell than collaboratively sell focused. Buyers don’t have time to waste and don’t want to be talked at.

Open ears lead to great ear contact that bust the conversation open. We’ve all been told—or learned—to listen and listening with open ears allows us to connect to words, intent, and emotion. Understanding all of these variables pinpoints the hot buttons that open opportunities in sales situations.

The Gearner Group’s research from interviews with over 850 sales pros found an 88% correlation with sales success and effective listening. Effective active listening skills were observed in 93% of the top sales people, compared to 8% in the lowest performers.

What a difference listening makes!

I’m a fast talker and have received feedback that when I ask a question and rush the response (or worse, don’t wait for one) I frustrate people. This frustration shuts down the conversation and my opportunities.

Yet when I open my ears and seek to understand the words and other communication signals, I learn more which leads me to be able to sell more!

Tips to open your ears:

  • Take notes on key points of information to keep you focused.
  • Postpone your evaluation of the full message until they have finished; just listen at first. Hint: don’t assume you know what they are going to say.
  • Stop multi-tasking and listen without distraction.
  • Paraphrase the information you hear to confirm you heard what they meant to say.

If you want to make your numbers, set yourself apart from your competition, and find hidden sales opportunities – open your ears more than your mouth. As Frank Tyger (nationally published editorial cartoonist, columnist, and humorist) said,

“Your ears will never get you into trouble.”

 Your Turn! What is your best tip for keeping your ears open during sales conversations? Share your comments and you’ll be entered in the drawing for a signed copy of Conversations That Sell.  Congratulations to Pat Ricca for winning the book from the last post. Pat, send me your address and I’ll mail the book!