When you ask a question, how well do you listen to the answer? Studies show that the best sales consultants listen 70% of the time and leave 30% of the time talk. Business development is largely a “receptive and an observant mode” activity. Unfortunately, most of us do the opposite and spend 70% of the time advocating (pitching) and only 30% listening for understanding (inquiry).
Listening is a matter of choice and concentration. You must choose to listen actively and focus your complete attention on the other person. To become a better listener, do the following:
- Focus on a person’s answer—not on your next question.
- Listen with your ears for auditory communication; watch with your eyes for visual communication.
- Sense with your intuition the real meaning of a person’s communication.
Can you see a difference between what someone says and what they mean?
Expand or exit the communication when appropriate. Don’t cut it short of understanding or prolong it past interest and attention span.