Did you know adults spend an average of 70% of their time engaged in some sort of communication?

Research shows that an average of 45% is spent listening compared to 30% speaking, 16% reading, and 9% writing. (Adler, R. et al. 2001).

That appears to be a lot of listening…but is it really?

Most people may appear to be listening because they are not speaking…but studies have also found that most of the time, they are actually planning ahead what they will say next…without really hearing the other person at all.

And that is a shame because those studies prove that the people who truly listen, comprehend, and respond to what the other person is actually saying experience:

* A greater number of friends and social networks
*improved self-esteem and confidence
*higher grades at school and in academic work
*and even better health and general well-being because attentive listening actually lowers blood pressure and eases anxiety!

And less anxiety in a sales situation makes a huge difference in making sales.

This type of listening is known as ‘active listening.’

And it requires the ability to slow down, relax, be alert and wait with an open mind to receive information, such as:

*How the person is speaking
*How the person is using language
*How the person is using their voice
*How the other person is using their body

Listening is like driving a car.  Although the majority of the time we are driving, we are just sitting in the driver’s seat and barely moving our body parts, we are listening and watching all the time.

We are watching the other drivers’ behaviors, we are watching for the next street where we will make a turn, we are watching for the light to turn red or green.

We are ‘actively listening’ to the signals to let us know when to stop and when to go.

The same holds true in any and all sales situations.  It is important to know the destination we intend to reach by the end of the conversation.  And it is important to feel we are in the driver’s seat of the conversation.

And yet, it is more important to pay attention to the map providing us with the directions to reach that destination.

Think of your prospective customer as being the map.

Watch and follow their signals.

The most effective way to do that is to ask questions, then wait for the answers and actively listen to the answers to know how to respond appropriately.

For many salespeople, waiting is the hardest part. 

They want so badly to first share everything they possibly can about how great their products are thinking that they will win their prospect over with an abundance of information.

These sales reps are forgetting that no one cares how much we know, they only want to know how much we care about what they care about.

The only way to know if they will care about our products and services is to first ask them about their life as it is now, about their future plans, and about the challenges they are facing in being able to achieve their future plans.

Then let them talk without interruption.

*Stay focused on what is being said – in fact, don’t take notes.  Taking notes is actually a distraction away from the person speaking.  If you are writing or typing notes, you are missing their gestures, their facial expressions, and their eye movements – all of which are more important than their words.

Allow your prospective customers to finish what they are saying first, and then you can repeat back to them what you understood them to say to make sure you heard them correctly.  Then, you ask them to wait a moment while you take notes to remember what they said.

In this way they will feel our acknowledgment and that we have heard their concerns.  This is the very definition of ‘caring.’

And it is the acknowledgment that leads to sales because it is the foundation on which to build a trusting relationship that is long-lasting.

Again, they don’t care about us or how much we know, or even what is going on in our life. They only care at the beginning that we care what is going on in their world.

So, ask questions about them and then ‘shut up and listen’ actively!

I recently taught a group of network marketers an active listening process known as R-A-W: Relaxed, Alert, and Waiting, which makes it easier to be an active listener in all interactions.

This recording is only for the subscribers to The Network Marketing Magazine.

Here is where to watch:

Stacey Hall

Stacey Hall
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