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As the old Chinese saying reminds us; “A good listener is as powerful as a good speaker,” one cannot speak of something when he doesn’t know how to listen. Everyone can use the advantages of this wise advice. These words are most appropriately applied and can be useful to professional salespeople.

Are you a good listener? Or perhaps a more precise question is; how do your business partners, family, customers, and friends rate your listening skills? Most people think that they are more of a listener than they actually are. Only to be surprised by the feedback they get on their listening skills.

Poor listeners almost always mixed up the emotional art of listening to the physical art of hearing. Active listening skills are obtained and develop while hearing is a mere function of a body part. An effective selling process requires a good listener because when you listen, you develop rapport, shows your respect and creates trust. But if you do all the talking, you only provide information about what you are selling without knowing what they really wanted to buy. Fortunately, becoming a good listener doesn’t require formal education. It only needs practice of the principles and consistent application in all our daily activities.

Active listening is putting some effort to understand what your customers really wanted, not only by listening to them verbally but also reading into the nonverbal nuances. You need to listen not only with your ears but also with your eyes. It is important that you understand your customers’ body language, the way they speak, their body movements and posture. Some clients might tell you what they think they wanted but not what they really need. Sometimes they only needed a little illumination for them to realize what’s perfect for their needs. Your job is to determine those needs and to impart them to your client.

Always give your full attention to your client. This simple gesture is so effective in gaining their trust and in building rapport. Don’t let your mind wander, always stay focused. With a smile or a nod, you let your customer know that you are listening without interrupting your client. When your mind starts to wander,”grab it” and bring your attention back to your customer.

To become the best salesperson, you have to ask exploring and probing questions and active listening like that of a crime detective. They seek evidence and make summaries but don’t make assumptions. A question or a comment from time to time will be able to recap that you fully understood the messages. Without affirmation that you understand them, your client will resist your offers.

Without proper communication mistakes are often made, relationships break and opportunities to make a sale fails. Listening while working is the secret weapon to improve your professional image, increase your sales and to strengthen your relationships with potential customers.

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