Why Is Listening More Important In Sales Than Speaking

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Epictetus, the Greek Stoic philosopher, was the first to say it. “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”

Sure, it’s a cliched statement, but it actually makes sense as we sell by listening, and, not speaking.

We think that we’re sales superstars; we have the gift of the gab, right? Our products are great, and we have a lot to say about them. As long as we can spew it all out there, nothing can stop us, right?

No, it’s absolutely Wrong! 

A good listener will always clock more sales than a good talker. Here’s why, and here’s what you can do to improve your listening skills.


Why is listening important?

People buy from people they like. You know this. What kind of a salesperson do you think is more likable? The one who can’t stop talking, or the one who makes their prospects feel like they’re being listened to? People like to be listened to. It satisfies their ego, making them feel important, putting them in the mood to buy.

When you really listen to what your prospects have to say, you get the chance to identify their needs, their drives, their pain points. Gather that information. If you actually take in what they’re saying, you’ll have more opportunities to help them identify their desire for whatever you’re selling.

Finally, if you give your prospects time to talk when it’s your turn to reply, there’s more chance of you saying something worthwhile, something that resonates with your audience.

So why don’t we do it?

If listening is so important, so useful for making sales, why are so many of us so poor at it?

On one hand, it’s an ego thing. We’re salespeople, we like to talk. We like to be the center of attention, to show off our knowledge. We believe it’s the way to get people to buy. On the flip side, we’re scared. If we don’t tell them everything we can, if we don’t tell our prospect every fact about our product, they won’t hear that one fact that makes them buy. So, it’s better to just talk and talk. We think the winning line will come out eventually.

How to be a better listener?

How can we become better at that all-important art of listening?

There’s a simple method, almost too simple, that is – Don’t talk! 

When you’re selling to a prospective customer, stop talking. Give them the stage. People don’t like silence, it unnerves them. If you keep what you say to a minimum, simply pointing them towards a subject, they’ll fill that silence with golden nuggets of information. They will spill everything that you want to know. They will help you sell to them. Ask open-ended questions to get them talking. Stay engaged. Listen to what they say, and make a note of the important bits, either physically or mentally. Make them aware of the fact that you were paying attention to them by repeating certain parts back to them.

Don’t interrupt, even if the speaker is lost or what they’re saying is wrong. Aside from being rude, it destroys their flow. Definitely, don’t do that thing where you finish their sentence for them. Don’t spend your time on planning what you’re going to say next while they are talking. It will show in your eyes. Just listen!

How to speak more effectively?

When it’s your turn to speak, make it count. You’ve to make them talk by asking the right questions and letting them see that you’re listening. When they’ve exhausted everything they have to say, it’s your opportunity. Use the information they have given, to address their needs with specific solutions. Speak with confidence, make sure that they’re listening to you by checking whether or not they are understanding your point of views. Build a relationship by giving your pitch that personal touch. 

Watch your non-verbal communication too. Make sure that you’re dressed well; your body language should be on point and you are making proper eye contact. That way, you’ll put yourself in the prime position to make that sale.

In short, become a better listener and you will easily nail your sales meetings.

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