5 Ways To Become A Better Listener… And Increase Sales

How good of a listener are you?

I’m talking about really listening – listening with your complete attention, listening with your eyes, listening with your body language.

Listening is not waiting for your turn to talk. And of course, listening is not interrupting a prospect in mid sentence.

Here’s a visualization that’ll help illustrate good listening in practice.

When holding a prospect meeting or free consultation, picture a spotlight on the ceiling that shines brightly on whoever is talking at the time.

There are two things the spotlight should be on – the prospect and the product. It’s your job to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible.

So how do you do that? Here are five ways to become a better listening.

1. Close Your Mouth: The biggest mistakes you can make are assuming you know what a prospect wants and telling him what you think he wants. The more you are talking, the less you are listening. This can be the hardest of all tips to perfect, but it’s one of the most important.

2. Focus on Listening: To listen well, you have to focus on listening to be sure that you are staying locked in on a conversation. This helps you stay in a conversation if paying attention for extended periods of time is difficult for you. I liken it to a distracted driver following GPS instructions as they are driving. By focusing their attention the directions being said and shown, driver can retain the most important details they need to know – such as street signs, route numbers, etc.

3. Repeat What You Heard Back: By doing this, you are literally letting your clients and prospects know that you are listening to them. It’s important to do this early in a meeting, especially with somebody you haven’t met with before or don’t know very well. But be careful not to do this too much, especially during long meetings. As you establish the fact that you are listening, wane off your repeating of the person’s words.

4. Pay Attention to Non-verbal Cues: A person’s body language can say just as much about how they feel as their words. Pay attention to changes in their tone, eye contact, posture and body position and movements. If they say something with their body that doesn’t seem to match what they are talking about, politely acknowledge this with them. It could open a door that allows them to speak openly. Likewise, keep your non-verbal cues in check. Look and act like you are paying attention with your whole body. Checking your smart-phone or watch sends a strong signal that you aren’t listening.

5. Practice Listening Outside of Work: Practice with your spouse, children, or friends (or your mother-in-law if you have steel nerves!). Have them tell you a story or a list of their favorite anything, and try to recite back as much as you can remember. Keep working at it. You may not see an improvement on a daily basis, but I’m sure that you’ll see the difference months down the road when revenues and closing rates are noticeably higher.

Being a great listener is a skill, which means it can be learned. And that’s important to know as our world becomes more fast-paced and technology oriented… and every other person has Attention Deficit Disorder it seems!

Better listening skills = More financial product sales. Remember that.

Be valuable.

Managing Editor, Leads4Insurance.com

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Brian J. Kay, Executive Director, Leads4Insurance
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