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Listening - the dying Art of selling

April 21, 2015

I was recently struck by a comment made from an obituary for the late cricket commentator Richie Benaud on what he said to his fellow commentators

“ Put your brain into gear and if you can add to what is on the screen, then do it. Otherwise, shut up"

  • What this got to do with selling?
  • When the police interview a suspect why do they do it in pairs?
  • What this got to do with selling?
  • Why do we like Listening to Music?
  • What this got to do with selling
  • The Art of Listening

The more that I hear from people the less I think they have been trained to listen In order to build a relationship with someone in business you have to listen to their needs and opinions.

This is best illustrated by a Nemawashi which is a Japanese system by which all aspects of a subject are discussed fully at on level and are then taken forward to the next level to be discussed and looked at from different aspects. It means by the time a recommendation is made to the top and the decision is made all Know how to implement it immediately. All have listened and know their part going forward.

We are adept to listen. The brain absorbs information at about 7 times faster than it can speak it back according to work carried out by IBM. Hence in many cases people enjoy music both played and choral as they are able with little effort to hear the different parts.

We need this skill when working in an open plan dealing environment as noise is an important part of a trading day. No wonder most TV screens are mute in a room so people can hear what is being said around them.

Likewise on a call allowing times for silence is a great way of getting more information as many people are not used to dealing with it. So they may have told you something but before replying you give them 10-20 seconds. In most cases people will try and fill the void with a further explanation and more detail of the statement they have just made. That detail can be very useful in building a better understanding.

When presenting to an audience if you are very good you are in full presentation mode. You don’t hear or really listen. In many cases don’t notice how people react to what is being said to them. You present and want to build your picture. That is why it is useful for someone to watch and to listen to what is being said. With skill they are able to pick up the body and eye movements to find out what people are really interested in. A judicious interjection can then help the presenter to concentrate on what the recipient (s) are really interested in. They are also able to make notes of what is being asked or what in particular gets written down- if anything. If there is a frequently asked question that come from the notes the presentation maybe adjusted.

People don’t want to hear about to many facts they want to listen to a broad outline. They then want to go away and go into more detail. However their thinking is likely to be framed in what has been said to them.

So as the great Richie Benaud said don’t say a lot but make it count.

It’s the start of an interaction and that should be over time a conversation. So be prepared to listen and not just hear what you want to hear. In many cases your business is an investment process that may be adjusted to fit more needs. Especially if in all that listening you find that is what people really want.

Try it an d let me know how you get on. I would like to hear.

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