1: Objective Increase Listening Skills.
- Write down a typical two or three paragraphs of what a prospect might say.
- Ask group to be quiet and listen as you read it out mimicking a prospective customer type.
- Without conferring or talking ask everyone to write down the key parts of what was said.
- Ask for volunteers and discuss their findings.
You will find people noticed different things, some things were not relevant. For more advanced sales staff, you can analyse language patterns, such as Visual, Feeling, Auditory words, present or future tense, analogue markings. It is the mark of the beginner just to note and try to remember content.
2: What were the first three sentences that I said?
Open a talk on the importance of listening in sales. At any point stop and tell them to write down the first three sentences you said.
3: Picking up key signals.
Read this to the group about three prospects talking about their holiday.
Harry: The night clubs were amazing, loud, vibrant and noisy just how I like it. Chatted to some nice girls and after sounded them out we went off together.
Pete: Best aspect the windsurfing, wind in your air, splash of the sea, great vibrant feeling all over.
John: The beach and sea was just paradise, so beautiful, panoramic, just made you see life in a different way.
Now ask group. How would you pitch Harry, Pete and John. Typically they will focus on content and miss the fact that Harry was visual, Peter was Feeling and John was using the Visual sense. AND they would be more receptive to a pitch using the same sensory system.
Exercise 4: Developing Listening Skills
- Depending on where you are, ask group to maintain total silence and to say in room or perhaps outside and write down 20 separate sounds they can hear. Then come back only when they have a list of 20.
Note: Exercise instruction is in fact a use of presuppositions. (Assumes there are 20 individual sounds, this sets up the belief and makes them keep looking until they find them.)
- When they are done go back and back discuss all that they heard. This will have the effect of them noticing how much more there was than they thought. The learning message is that when they talk to a prospect they can miss most of what s/he says and certainly any tonal changes, markings or emphasis.
- Then get one of group to talk on any positive subject. Get group to listen now for 20 things in the tone that are key. So many sales people make the massive mistake of only listening to content.