Active Listening Helps Drive Sales

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Active listening is a communication technique that helps increase understanding and rapport between a speaker and a listener. Rather than passively listening to the person talking (or not listening at all), the active listener pays close attention to the other person's choice of words, their tone of voice and their body language (which accounts for at least 80% of communication). The speaker takes in all these components and then repeats back to the speaker the most important points the speaker was touching on.

Active listening is extremely helpful in building rapport between the listener and speaker. This communication technique uses the core pattern of listening and by repeating the important message points it shows the speaker that the other person is truly paying attention to what they have to say. Active listening is especially important in the sales world. That's because prospects are often ignored or talked over because the focus is on making the sale, not the ​person making the purchase. When salespeople show that they value the prospect's needs and opinions, it is far easier to build trust and ensures that the conversation results in a mutually-beneficial experience.

This respectful approach to listening is also one key way to avoid a misunderstanding due to a miscommunication. Because the listener sums up the conversation and reiterates back the key points, the speaker is afforded the opportunity to correct anything they said that was not clearly understood.

Focusing on the other person goes far to circumvent any misunderstanding before it has a chance to throw the sales cycle completely off track or foster irrevocable resentment between the salesperson and the prospect.

The most obvious time to engage in active listening takes place during the stage in communication commonly referred to as the "qualifying and answering objections" cycle.

This is not to say those seeking to "seal the deal" should close their ears or shut down their brains during other stages of the sales process. Often a salesperson's prospect will spontaneously offer useful information critical to identifying their wants and needs (and most importantly objections).

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