Sales Training Tip: You Have Two Ears and One Mouth

Are You Listening?

One of the most common mistakes made by rookies and veterans alike, is talking too much on a sales call. Because most sales people are extroverts and process information by hearing themselves talk, this can be a huge liability. For extroverts, the human CPU, otherwise known as the brain, can actually sabotage your best intentions. If you are guilty of being a motor mouth – meaning you talk more than you listen – there is hope if you engage in effective sales training that addresses this issue.

God gave us two ears and one mouth to remind us that we should – in every conversation – listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately, few do this professionally or socially. Listening is a much neglected skill, seldom taught or emphasized. Case in point – We’ve all heard of speech therapists, but have you ever heard of listening therapist? Of course not. Why? Because listening is not emphasized in our society. And that is sad because selling or any other effective communication has more to do with listening than it does with talking.

Most sales training programs are woefully lacking when it comes to teaching this skill. And almost every sales manager that I have ever met is ignorant of the importance of this skill, and most are personally incompetent in their own ability to listen. Lucky for me, I was taught this skill in my Graduate School Professional Education as a counselor and therapist. Being a super extrovert myself, it was not easy to learn or apply. Fortunately, I have conditioned myself to “go in to listen mode” when there is money involved. While not perfect – my wife would most certainly attest to this – I am very good at it.

Listening involves focusing on the other person intently. Not only listening to their words but listening for the intent and even listening for what is not being said. This focus on the other person goes against our own selfish need to be the center of attention. If we insist on getting our emotional needs met while on a sales call that is all we will usually get, because in selling you can either choose to feed your ego or choose to feed your family. But you cannot do both. If you are not consciously aware of this and employ an effective sales training process or system to help you do this, you will, by default, end up focusing on feeding your ego.

Lee Weiss

I really liked what you had to say about listening. I really think it is overlooked. I think a lot of people like to hear themselves talk while missing out on meeting their customers needs. How can we possibly be the best if we are not listening to what our clients/customers are telling us? This also applies to our family and relationships.


Steve Clark

Absolutely Lee. Listening should apply to ALL aspects of our life – business and family. But it’s amazing how many people do not apply it to either!

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