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How to Listen and Profit from From What You Hear

“People want economy and they will pay any price to get it.” Lee Lacocca

“Well I told you once and I told you twice, but you never listen to my advice. You don’t try very hard to please me, with what you know it should be easy.” Mick Jagger

A) What Influences You?

B) Are We Talking The Same Language?

C) A Closer Look At ‘Native’ Language

D) ‘Pictures’ Language Customers

E) ‘Feelings’ Language Customers

F) ‘Logic’ Language Customers

G) ‘Sounds’ Language Customers

H) ‘Smells and Tastes’ Language Customers

I) It’s All In The Eyes!

J) Where Do The Eyes Go?

K) Typical Characteristics Of ‘Native’ Language Speakers

L) Examples Of Multi-Lingual Sales Lines

M) A Second Look At What Influences You


A) What Influences You?

Imagine being in a room with someone and £20 notes continually flutter down from the ceiling continuously. That is how I see a client visit, but you need to be willing to listen carefully for it to happen.

Have you ever listened to a personal development audio recording? Have you noticed that if you repeat the experience that you notice things that you did not the first time around, and notice new things each time you play it. Play a CD to someone and after five minutes ask them to report on exactly what they heard. You might be surprised how little that is. In selling when you talk to someone, somewhere in what they are saying is the doorway to making them a customer. You just have to find it and walk through. The key to that door is your listening skills. It is as though they have a silver platter stacked high with wads of £20 notes, saying ‘please help yourself to as many of these as you want’. As I prove in one of my seminars, if anyone talks for three minutes on any subject at all, the information is there on how to get them to bring out the silver platter!

To listen all you have to do is shut up internally and externally. The second part means that you have to focus on them and not have any thoughts or internal dialogue in any other direction. This is just a matter of forming a new habit. With a recruitment business I was running, I once helped my team to develop this habit. I recorded their phone calls and paid them a sales performance bonus on the following basis: For every sentence they spoke I deducted £1 and for every sentence the other person spoke I gave them 25 pence. Sales went up! Not only that, but my sales staff reported that selling was a lot easier than they thought.

For example they will mark out what is important to them by changing their voice tone in some way. Even if you start the meeting asking about the holiday they have just returned from, much is to be gained. Firstly their values will become apparent, their attitude to price relative to quality and value for money, how they come to decisions, their personality, who and what is important in their lives. When you get down to business you will start with all this information and with a well directed conversation have them in a good mood already. All done on safe ground.

When you have got in the habit of listening you then have to analyse what you hear relative to your objectives. Language is in fact a complex digital software code. Like any piece of software it is full of patterns. In our spoken or written word there are many patterns. Many of these patterns are not hard to find if you know to look for them. When you know somebody’s key communication patterns, selling to them becomes very easy. When somebody talks they will be sending out clear “buying signals” that will tell you exactly what you have to do to sell to them. For this chapter I have covered a major common pattern in detail for you to learn and practice with. There are many others. Let us start with a self-analysis before we use our new skills on others.

Progress Now:

Complete the following questionnaire, coding as follows.

4 = Closest to describing you 3 = Next best 2 = Not particularly you 1 = Least like you

1. I make important decisions based on:

Gut level feelings.

Which way sounds best.

What looks best to me.

Precise review and study of the issues.

2. Whilst listening to a presentation, I am most likely to be influenced by:

The other person’s tone of voice.

Whether or not I can see the other person’s argument.

The logic of the other person’s points.

Being in touch with the issues.

3. I am happiest when:

I am listening to music.

I have balanced my personal budget.

Going for a walk on a sunny day.

Watching a good movie.

4. My main motivation to exercise and keep fit is:

It would make me feel better.

It would make me look better.

A class with music to supply rhythm.

Improved performance in my business.

5. If I bought a pet it would be because:

They are warm and cuddly.

Their sound is very welcoming.

They look just lovely.

I can make money from breeding them.

6. Are you more receptive to people who:

Are very precise in their communication.

Have a pleasant friendly voice.

Dress well and look smart.

Give you a firm handshake.

7. I communicate how I am at any time by:

The way I dress and look.

The feelings I share with friends.

The words I choose.

The tone of my voice.

8. It is easiest for me to:

Find the ideal volume and tuning on a stereo system.

Select the most intellectually relevant point.

Select the most comfortable furniture.

Select rich, attractive, colour combinations.

9. I am very:

Responsive to the decorations in a room.

Tuned to the sounds of my surroundings.

Adept at making sense of new facts and data.

Sensitive to clothes on my body.

10. When I buy my dream car I will be most influenced by:

How it looks, colour, design etc.

The sensation of speed from behind the wheel.

The quality of the stereo and quietness of engine.

The best deal I can get.


Now calculate on a piece of paper your scores to the following matrix:

Question Pictures (P) Feelings (F) Logic (L) Sounds (S)












(Note that the smell and taste sensory languages are not separately included in this test as they are considered less significant, and are often included in ‘Feelings’ for these purposes)

My language preference order is:

First = Second = Third = Fourth =

B) Are We Talking The Same Language?

Four entrepreneurs met on a business start up course and after talking realised that they had each just come back from holiday. They related their holidays to each other, as represented below. Which one appeals to you the most?

The first person, Tracy, said that her resort was beautiful. There were panoramic views of an attractive coastline and it was sunny every day. The sea was a deep shade of green, contrasting with a picturesque sky of light blue. The town itself was attractive with lots to see of interest. Tracy took her boyfriend and said that when they returned they both looked very good with attractive tans. She imagined that they would be going back there next year.

Sharon spent all of her holiday enjoying various sports, particularly water sports, which she described as giving you a tremendous feeling with the sun on your face, the wind in your hair and an exhilaration from speed felt all over the body. She went dancing most evenings and ate, drank and partied non-stop.

George had chosen his resort after careful analysis of the alternatives to ensure best value for money. He reckoned that his chosen resort offered the best all-round package and he was not disappointed. He made a clear plan of what he wanted to do, which involved a great deal of diverse activities. He studied all the tours available to avoid repetition and scheduled them in with periods of complete rest and relaxation.

Peter said that his resort was lively and they spent most evenings listening to local musicians with the background sound of the surf breaking. The traffic was a bit noisy but the hotel was situated in a quiet part of the town. He chose this holiday because of a friend’s recommendation, which was supported by what he was told by the travel agent.

Now the above holidays could all be the same resort. Tracy clearly prefers pictures, Sharon feelings, George logic, and Peter sounds. The one that appealed to you the most gives a good orientation as to your mix of preferences.

Sometimes we do not seem to be speaking the same language. From a sensory point of view this could be literally correct. Good communication skills bridge these differences and provide flexibility, which is the mother of influence.

C) A Closer Look At ‘Native’ Language

Our experiences are structured in terms of our senses. When we think or process information internally we either use one of the sensory languages or the one non-sensory language, which we call the logic mode. These five different languages can be directly compared to spoken languages, such as Spanish, Greek or Japanese. If you were selling to a Japanese you would probably do better by speaking Japanese and even better using the style, customs and manner of a Japanese. This way you will literally be speaking his language and therefore develop rapport and communicate far easier with him.

The same principle applies to the ‘languages of the mind’ and you are already conversant in all of them as we all speak all of these languages some of the time. However, for most people one language is predominant, and doing nothing more than talking to someone in their preferred language will virtually guarantee you getting your message through. The languages are:

• Pictures

• Feelings

• Logic

• Sounds

• Smell/taste

There are now two simple things to do.

1. Establish which language somebody is predominantly using. This can be done by any one of the following methods, using the others for confirmation.

(a) Listen to the words and phrases repeatedly used.

(b) Notice their body shape, which can be a key indicator.

(c) Certain involuntary eye movements.

(d) Breathing patterns.

2. Talk to them in their language.

(a) Use the words and phrase of their language, particularly the same ones.

(b) Mirror their physiology, which will be strongly influenced by their ‘native’ language.

(c) Show ‘pictures people’ things, (brochures, charts, references, reports, pictures etc); talk to ‘sounds people’ about what other customers have said. Let ‘feelings people’ touch your product and try it out; explain to ‘logic people’ the arguments in favour of your products.

As an interesting exercise to illustrate the need to be completely flexible, imagine that you are a car salesman and consider how you may differently approach each type of customer.


D) ‘Pictures’ Language Customers


Black Bright Blank Clear Colour Dim

Dark Dream Eye Focus Gleam Glowing

Golden Hazy Hindsight Horizon Image Imagine

Insight Illusion Look Luminous Opaque Outlook

Perspective Picture Reflect Scene Shady Shine

Translucent Transparent View Vision Visualise Vivid



I cannot face it. Looking at the big picture. It’s not exactly black and white to me. I need to distance myself from the problem.

He’s had a colourful past. He has a sunny disposition. Looks alright to me. I cannot seem to focus on what you are saying.

That puts a bit more light on it. That’s brightened up my day.

It all seems very hazy. I see what you mean. I want a different perspective. Let us look at this closely.

I can picture what you are saying. I can see right through your argument. Show me what you mean.

Things are looking up. It appears that you are right. Seeing eye to eye. Turn a blind eye.

Progress Now:

Construct five questions to ask ‘pictures’ people.






E) ‘Feelings’ Language Customers


Cold Contact Firm Flow Grasp Handle

Hassle Hold Itching Lift Loose Move

Pressure Pushy Rub Sensitive Sharp Shrug

Smooth Soft Solid Sticky Support Tackle

Tepid Texture Thrust Tickle Tight Tired

Touch Turn Uptight Warm Weight


I am ready to tackle this head on. I’ve got a good feeling about this. He needs to get a grip on his results.

He is as solid as a rock. It is a rather sticky situation. I need a concrete proposal. You hurt his feelings.

A cool customer. Can you give me a hand. Things just seemed to flow smoothly. He rubs me up the wrong way.

That company needs to pull itself together. I can grasp what you are saying.

Can you hold on a minute? I feel it in my bones. One step at a time.

Hot-headed. A pat on the back. Boils down to. Tied up.

Progress Now:

Construct five questions to ask ‘feelings’ people.






F) ‘Logic’ Language Customers


Analyse Arrange Assess Balancing Basis Believe Breakdown Calculate Cogitate Compute Conceive Conclude

Conjecture Consider Criticise Critique Decide Deliberate Dissect Estimate Enquire Evaluate Examine Explain

Figure Gauge Guess Investigate Judgement Know

Logic Measure Mentality Muse Notice Number

Perceive Ponder Rank Rational Reason Reckon

Remember Review Scrutinise Sense Sift Study

Suppose Surmise Survey Systematic Testing Think

Understand Validate Work Out


I would like to think about it. Consider it done. Common sense Let me think about it. Seems logical to me.

I reckon you are right. I understand what you mean. I guess it adds up to a good deal.

Progress Now:

Construct five questions to ask ‘logic’ people.






G) ‘Sounds’ Language Customers


Call Chatter Chirpy Clash Click Deaf

Dissonant Drum Dumb Harmony Hear Hearsay

Language Loud Melody Monotonous Patter Question

Rhythm Ring Say Sing Speech Talk

Tell Tinkle Tone Tune Unheard of Wavelength


We are on the same wavelength. Speaking the same language. Tune into this. I hear what you are saying. Music to my ears.

I like what you are saying. Lost for words. Living in harmony. Talking gobbledygook. Noise in the system.

Quiet as a mouse. Sounds good to me. Turn a deaf ear. Tone it down. Rings a bell. Strikes a chord.

Struck dumb. Calling the tune. Loud and clear. I have heard a whisper.

I keep telling him. It’s come to a screeching halt. Rumour has it.

Progress Now:

Construct five questions to ask ‘sounds’ people.






H) ‘Smells / Tastes’ Language Customers


Acrid Appetite Aroma Bite Bitter Bland

Bouquet Chew Crisp Fishy Flavour Fragrant

Fresh Gorge Juicy Luscious Nibble Nosey

Reek Savour Scent Smell Sniff Spicy

Stinks Swallow Sweet Tasty Whiff


Seems a bit fishy to me. The sweet taste/smell of success. He is stinking rich. Taking a sugar-coated pill.

He has a good nose for business. He’s all sour grapes. It makes the spice of life.

He has bitten off more than he can chew. I’d like to get a bite of that apple. He came out of that deal smelling of roses.

Our northern branch is a smooth running operation. I need to get to the meat of the proposal.

I’d like a better price for starters. Too many cooks spoil the broth. If you do not like the heat get out of the kitchen.

Progress Now:

Construct five questions to ask ‘smells/tastes’ people.






I) It’s All In The Eyes!

When we are not consciously looking at something we move our eyes according to what language we are operating internally. There are exceptions to this rule but they are rare (The main exceptions are left-handed people. In their case the opposite direction is usually found).

Figure 1. Looking At Someone

The central position usually means that the person is accessing different ‘languages’ at the same time. Remember that this is a generalisation and it is always best to calibrate for the individual. These movements are unconscious and indicate where the ‘unconscious’ mind is, the conscious mind could be elsewhere.

J) Where Do The Eyes Go?

When people access a different sensory part of the brain, unconsciously they tend to make an eye direction movement reflecting where they are focused. Thus by observing their eyes you can tell what sensory mode they are in. For example, if they are visualising then talking in that mode will be more appropriate. You will be surprised at just how clear these movements are and why you never noticed it before.

Progress Now:

Put the following questions to at least three people and without telling them what you are doing, record where their eyes go.


What does your house look like? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

What does your favourite Disney character look like? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

What would your dream car look like? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

Picture yourself driving a red Ferrari? Eyes: Up / Central / Down Left / Right

What was the last sentence you spoke? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

What does Donald Duck sound like? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

Imagine the voice of your last prospect? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

What would your best friend sound like talking Japanese? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

What does 3 + 12 – 7 + 5 make? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

What does £1100 + VAT total? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

What is really relaxing like? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

What part of you gets hottest quickest in a sauna? Eyes: Up / Central / Down / Left / Right

K) Typical Characteristics Of ‘Native’ Language Speakers.

To help you in reading people there are other giveaway signs.

Preference – Pictures

These speakers’ voices are often high-pitched and slightly breathless. They tend to breathe high in the chest. They often have tension in the neck and shoulders. Voice tempo is often quite quick. ‘Pictures’ people seldom get lost, if they are in a place once, they will remember the area and find their way back. They typically have photographic memories and can vividly retrieve past scenes with ease. Physical characteristics may be summarised as follows: eyes up, head up, frequent blinking, even closing of eyes. They tend to be thinner and dress well.

Preference – Feelings

‘Feelings’ people breathe low down in the belly, and accordingly their voices tend to be deeper than the other categories. They tend to speak slowly often with spaces or gaps. Their eyes tend down to the right. They often love sports and use gestures a lot.

Preference – Logic

‘Logic’ people do not trust their basic experiences. They trust the words that describe the experiences instead. This gives them a cautious outlook, as they search for the perfect description

Preference – Sounds

Not as common as the above three. They often speak well and rhythmically. They are constantly talking to themselves in internal dialogue. In fact they are often hard to close on as they won’t turn off the internal dialogue. They tend to breathe in the middle of the chest. This gives them a rhythmic tempo. As you can imagine they like listening to music or attending concerts. Their eyes tend to be level left and right. They will often hum or whistle

Progress Now:

Think of people that you deal with a lot. Which categories do they fit into?

L) Examples Of Multi-Lingual Sales Lines


If I could show you an attractive benefit, you would want at least to look at it, wouldn’t you?

Imagine in your mind’s eye owning this product.

Can you see what I am getting at?

Can you visualise the benefits of this product?

Can I focus you on these particular features?

You should see this as a golden opportunity.

Does this reflect your requirements?


If this feels good to you, I can pull some strings for delivery Monday.

Can you get a feel for what I am saying?

Can I touch base with you next week?

We have to stick to the full price on this one.

It takes all the hassle out of buying.


Considering the arguments, what do you think?

Do you want me to investigate further?

What do you reckon?

It is the only logical choice.

The figures add up, don’t they?


If I could tell you a way in which you could benefit, you would at least want to hear about it, wouldn’t you?

How does that sound?

Listen to this quote from John Smith of ABC Systems.

Are we on the same wavelength?

Tell me what you think?

Have you changed your tune?


Sniffing out opportunities.

Taste of his own medicine.

The deal on the new lease stinks.

Losing that contract was rotten luck.

That way of doing business I find distasteful.

M) A Second Look At What Influences You

Write down five sentences of things that you like or dislike strongly. Be sure to describe exactly what it is that you like or dislike.






Now go through the above underlining the Pictures, Feelings, Logic and Sounds words and add them up. Check the results with the test at the beginning of this chapter to confirm your personal profile.

Pictures Feelings Logic Sounds


I never go into a sales presentation with a pre-planned structure. My mind is completely at a blank when I go in. My antennae are fully out to listen and observe, to gain information to make a decision as to how to go forward. Listening actually is harder work than talking, although to a casual observer you don’t seem to be doing much at all!

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