When you mention the qualities you look for in great salespeople, it’s nearly a given that the gift of gab is near the top of the list. Everyone loves a salesperson who can carry a conversation. But in speaking with Brenda Bence, author of Would You Want to Work for You?, I was reminded the ability to listen may be more important.

Bence shared an interesting statistic, which is that English speakers can say 125 to 150 words in a given minute and listen to 400 to 550 words in the same amount of time. The old adage goes that he who speaks first loses. To be a great salesperson you have to listen, but are you doing it effectively? Bence devised an acronymn called I.L.I.S.T.E.N., listing seven steps to consider when you’re on the receiving end of a conversation. They are:

I. Intention

Learn the benefits of listening. You’re in the conversation for a reason, so make it your goal to stay involved.

L. Landscape

Meet in an environment that is conducive to listening. Make sure it’s a quiet place and hang up the “Do not Disturb” sign if need be.

I. Impartiality

Don’t come into the conversation with a preconceived notion of what you’ll discuss. Allow it to flow and listen with curiosity.

S. Safeguard

Like landscape, this is all about staying in the moment. Rid yourself of distractions such as social media and phone calls.

T. Target

Now that you’re in the right place, it’s time to get hyper-focused. Target your brain to pay attention.

 

 

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