We talk a lot about listening being critical in building a successful sales career. But, I’d like to take that a step further. I believe there are several levels of auditory acknowledgement:
We all know you can hear what someone is saying without really listening to them. It’s the old “in one ear and out the other” syndrome. Think about times you’ve had noise or music in the background and you were so focused on something else (or so unfocused on the sound) that you didn’t even notice it. But, did you hear it? Yes.
So, hearing isn’t good enough.
Then we get into listening. This is when you are actually and actively hearing what is being said. But, does that mean it is resonating with you? Is it registering? Are you soaking it all in?
That’s why I think you have to be a good “receiver” in order to reach the ultimate level of success. You have to receive the message being delivered. It has to make sense to you and you have to process the information being sent your way.
Let’s think of it in terms of a radio: hearing would equate to the station broadcasting but you may not even have your radio turned on. Listening means the station is broadcasting but it may be fading in and out because you aren’t tuned to the exact frequency. And then there’s receiving: you are dialed in, exactly on what the radio station is broadcasting—it couldn’t be clearer.
So, the next time someone talks about being a good listener, think in terms of being a good receiver. They can throw out the best, most intelligent information—but, you have to receive it for it to do you any good.
Listening and receiving are learned skills. Practice by totally clearing your mind when listening to a radio or television. Catch yourself letting your mind wander—thinking of other things. If you have TiVo or a DVR, periodically pause the TV and repeat what has just been said. This is a great way to practice alone and improve your skills for your prospects and clients.
Butch Bellah works with salespeople and businesses to help them gain more appointments, win more business, retain more customers. Order his latest book, Sales Management For Dummies (John Wiley & Sons) on sale NOW!
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