A Listening Exercise

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The most common sales rep frustrations I hear from clients and all small business owners across North America:

Sales reps don’t listen. Sometimes they act like they listen, but I’m pretty sure they’re just nodding and waiting for me to finish so they can start talking again.

Want to learn to actively listen?

It requires practice. In your next sales training:

  • Pair up into two-somes.
  • Pick a conversational topic. It can be as simple as ‘tell me about your day yesterday,’ but it should be something that requires a bit of storytelling.
  • Sit in chairs facing one another. Person A will tell their story to person B.
  • They must maintain eye contact and person B cannot interrupt. Understand that: Person B may not say anything. Person B’s only job at this point is to listen.
  • Then, switch roles. Person A listens. Person B tells.
  • Once finished, go around the room with each Person B telling Person A’s story and vice versa.

It’s more fun if you have a colorful, emotional topic such as, “Tell me about your favorite family vacation,” or “Tell me about your most embarrassing moment.”

Do this once a week for the next twelve weeks. I defy you to not see dramatic improvements in connecting with not only clients and prospects, but also with friends and family, too.

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As CEO and Head Custodian of Miles & Company, Tim Miles helps owner-operated companies do more with less. He's the author of Good Company: Making It, Keeping It & Being It.

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Good advice? Please share. Thanks!
  • Rachel

    Have you ever noticed the friends who listen & look at you, are the ones you go to for advice? They seem more trustworthy. I don’t know many companies (or people) out there who wouldn’t like being known as trustworthy…

    Great point for students too. Interrupting and talking over each other is ridiculously common, even in class. This exercise will be very valuable (and maybe even fun…) at our next PRSSA meeting.

    • http://www.TheDailyBlur.com Tim

      You are preternaturally and unfairly wise for your age. You kinda freak me out.