• Nov 27, 2017

Since my early teenage years, I was often told that I had a “gift” --- the gift of gab. I always took it as a compliment. While many of my friends were always shy around others, I had no problem talking to pretty much anyone. I was always told that I would make a good salesperson.

And here I am today… a salesperson! When I first started my career in sales, I assumed the more I talked to a prospective client, the better chance I had of making the sale. If I could just keep talking, then certainly this would increase my chances of landing a big deal, right? Wrong!

According to a 2016 study done by Sales Hacker in which the research team analyzed 25,537 business-to-business sales conversations, it was found that the top-producing salespeople had this in common: they spent more time in sales meetings listening to their prospective clients than they did in talking and giving their sales pitch. Those who talked the most in their sales meetings were in the bottom 20% of closing deals.

In reality, listening is the essential sales trait. This is not only a good trait to have in sales, but it is a good trait to possess in general. Listening helps your relationships all around. Whether it is your client, your spouse, your friend or even your enemy, listening is a powerful skill that few have developed.

I admit, it is certainly one of my weak areas that I am working to strengthen. Listening doesn’t come naturally to most people because there is a perceived sense of control and power in speaking. When we are speaking, we feel we are the ones controlling things. In reality, it is the person who is carefully listening who holds the true control.

Listening helps you to better understand where the person is coming from. It gives you more context upon which to make decisions. People naturally like to talk. As it has been said, “When you listen to others talk about themselves, they will think you are the most interesting person in the world.” When you listen to them, you will be perceived as a wise individual who cares about them and their ideas/needs/concerns.

Are you listening to others? I encourage you to become consciously aware of the conversations you are having when you are having them. Notice how often you speak versus how often your conversation partner speaks. Are you asking questions? Are you asking the right questions? While talking is certainly an essential aspect of conversing, the one essential trait you may be missing is listening.

- Kevin Pendergrass



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