The 7 skills of a good listener

Myers Barnes active listeningYou’re in sales. Listening should be one of your sharpest skills. But sometimes, “listeners” are so intent on framing up their next comment that they miss important cues from the prospect. It’s important to listen to what is said, but also to hear what isn’t spoken. How do you rate on the 7 skills of a good listener?

Active listening: Mouth shut, other senses open

You’ve got your sales pitch all ready. You can deliver it with the proper tonality, emphasizing the key features and benefits with sincerity.

How many times has your prospect not followed their part of the script?

“Listen” and “silent” share the same letters. Active listening means you allow your homebuyer to talk—without interruption. Maintain eye contact. Don’t fidget. And by all that is holy in the Book of Selling, do not look at your cell phone or watch!

Watch for non-verbal cues, like body language. Did you know when you’re speaking with someone, your feet are often pointing in the direction you want to go? For example, you’re stuck talking to someone who is only interested in praising themself. Look down. Are your feet pointing toward the door? And are the speaker’s feet pointed right at you?

When you’re seated, maintain good posture and avoid shifting. The movement shows you’re uncomfortable, which puts the other person on alert.

7 skills of a good listener

  1. Attentive. Keep frequent eye contact without making it creepy. Strong eye contact is the sign of integrity and honesty. When someone looks away, they’re uncomfortable, either with what you’re saying or what they are telling you. 
  2. Focused. The fastest way to break the connection with your homebuyer is to look around or let your gaze wander to something or someone else. The disconnection happens as fast as flicking a switch, and turning it back on takes much longer. 
  3. Inquisitive. Ask good questions to show you’re interested in what they have to say. Keep them engaged in the conversation by asking their opinion and posing thoughtful questions. “What would you change about your current home?” or “What do you love about some of the places and homes where you’ve lived?”
  4. Patient. Do. Not. Interrupt. Allow your prospective buyer to finish their thoughts and their sentences. Breaking in communicates that you’re not interested in what they have to say. 
  5. Open-minded. Do not bring any preconceived notions to the conversation. Never assume an individual is ready to buy or only wants a certain type of home. Ask questions before you formulate an opinion.
  6. Empathetic. If we’ve learned nothing else from the pandemic, it’s that showing kindness and understanding to others is essential. You don’t know what someone else has gone through. Let them voice their concerns and respect their feelings.
  7. Responsive. Acknowledge that you understand what the other person has communicated to you. Repeat back what they’ve told you, in your own words. Then either confirm that you’re on the right track or let them adjust your course, as needed.

As an active listener, you should demonstrate your understanding by rephrasing what you’ve just heard: “To be clear, what you said/asked for was….” 

Success in sales is as much listening as speaking—possibly more. You’re building a relationship and that can only be done with a two-sided conversation. 


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