When we asked the one man who’s sold more software than Bill Gates, what makes him a great salesmen, his answer was simple: “because I listen really really well.”
Studies have shown we spend 60% of our time listening yet retain only 25%.
But what is the definition of “listening” and how can we get better at it? Sound expert, Julian Treasure defines listening as “making meaning from sound.”
There are 4 exercises you can do today to become improve your sales techniques and become a better listener:
1. Listen to as many sound channels as possible. Right now, what do you hear. It may be the air vent, a co-worker typing or clicking. Listen to as many channels as possible.
2. Be cognizant of your listening positions. There are two parts to this. First, is the attitude you have going into the discussion. Some examples of listening positions are: active, passive, critical, empathetic. Second, are your physical listening positions. Depending on your mental listening position will determine your physical listening position. Are you sitting up straight, leaning forward, slouching back? Understand your listening positions.
3. Identify and enjoy mundane sounds. Julian Treasure states there are “hidden choirs” around us all the time. For example, the air vent could be playing a nice harmony and us not even realize it. Seek to realize them.
4. RASA. The most important exercise you can do to listen better comes from a simple acronym: RASA – Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, Ask.
- Receive – Let the person know what they’re saying is being received.
- Appreciate – Make noises and sound effects that acknowledge your appreciation.
- Summarize – The word “so” is very important when recapping what you’ve just listened to.
- Ask – Ask questions afterwards. In the sales sense, this is where you can clarify, challenge, and educate all in an effort to help them.