The Million Dollar Sales Tool

It is actually rather comical when we begin to think about the hype (could, should, need to, don’t want to) associated with selling, closing the sale, hot leads, cold leads, prospecting, etc. When all of us have the most basic and the valuable sales tool there is. I’m not saying it is natural although in some respects, it is. Yet it is definitely a skill that can be learned. In order to learn this skill, it takes awareness, commitment, concentration and persistence. So what is it? Listening. The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them. As Dr. E. H. Mayo says: “One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world.” Notice he said ‘on the world’ – pretty big stuff.

This leads me to the conclusion that there is a definite link between listening skills and improved interpersonal communication, professional growth, and career satisfaction. If you are skilled listener, people will respond to you in a more positive way. Even Peter Senge has said, “You listen not only for what someone knows, but for what he or she is.”

You may think you are being paid to sell – but you may actually be getting paid to listen. Two clues: 1) It is a direct result of listening that you know what your customers’ needs are and how you can best fill those needs. 2) It is a direct result of your listening to and understanding those needs that allows you to close the sale.

Of our waking hours we spend 40% of our time listening, 35% talking and the other 25% writing and reading.* Would it shock you to learn that if you are making $60,000 per year, then at 40% of your waking time, you are getting paid $24,000 to listen. But in truth you are only listening effectively 25% of that 40 – so in effect you are getting paid $18,000 of that 24 to listen ineffectively!

Listening is not instinctive – it is a skill that can be developed and if you’re not developing it, you are creating unnecessary problems, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, confused instructions, loss of important information, embarrassment, frustration and losing SALES!

A single female friend shared with me that when she went to purchase a house, she told the agent 4 things up front: “I’m looking for large closets (lots of clothes and shoes), nice size bedrooms, lots of windows and I couldn’t care less about the kitchen, I don’t cook.” The first house the agent took her to, he began in the kitchen pointing out all the storage, counter top space, upscale appliances, moved on to the den, then the bathrooms, the size of the back yard and finally upstairs to the bedrooms, never even mentioning the closet space. Do you think she bought from him? The second agent she interviewed was only slightly better. The third agent took a different approach. She said, “The first place we’re going is upstairs, I’d like you to see the size of the master closet and bedroom.” Next came the guest room and the agent pointed out that my friend could use the closet space in this room for any overflow. Lastly the agent took her to the kitchen with the remark: “I know you aren’t interested in the kitchen, but it has a really large pantry and in a pinch would be great storage for your shoes!” Even while using humor, it was obvious this agent had listened to her customer’s needs and had addressed those needs. Is it any surprise she got the sale?

Whether you’re selling yourself, a product, or an idea – Listen, ask questions and confirm.

  • Sales people who listen get sales, they hear the need and they respond to the need
  • Spouses who listen get appreciation and understanding
  • Parents who listen grow adults who listen
  • Leaders who listen grow leaders ** (#69 – Living Courageously in a Changing World)

Listening is a skill. Ask a thousand employees who said they liked their supervisor why and they will tell you because he listens. I can talk to him.

“Remember, you can listen a person’s soul into existence,” says a sign over a campus crisis hotline. If this is the case, it is certain that listening can improve your life, your relationships, your sales, and your bottom line.

* Listening – The Forgotten Skill, Madelyn Burley-Allen. ** Living Courageously in a Changing World, Judy Irving,



~ by transformativethoughts on December 4, 2019.

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