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Psychology of Sales Masterclass #2 – The subtle art of listening to your customers

When in discussion with a client, you may be hearing the words your client speaks, but are you listening? We salespeople are a talkative bunch, with quick minds, and even faster tongues. We’ve provided our top tips for slowing the chatter to open your mind to real conversation.


Where’s your mind at?

While we think at 1,000–3,000 words per minute, we listen at a rate of 125 to 250 words per minute. This difference can allow our minds to wander whilst listening. When a client communicates, give your full attention. Maintain eye contact and disregard distractions; that text on your phone can wait.

Patience is key

How often have you begun formulating your response before your client has stopped talking? If we think one conversational step ahead, we miss out on what is being said. When a response bubbles up in your mind, take a moment to listen to the actual words being spoken. When your client has finished speaking, pause and review what has been said before responding.

Be an active listener

You are not an empty receptacle for words. A client can, and will, detect subtle differences between an active and passive listener. The question is, do you know the difference?

On occasion, we’re all passive listeners, repeating, ‘Uh huh’, mindlessly while considering what to have for dinner. This is characteristic of a passive listener; their bodies are present, but their minds are elsewhere. Passive listeners may glance in the direction of their partner, but eye contact is lacking, and they are habitual fidgeters.

We know what to avoid, but what should we aim for? An active listener mirrors the body language and tone of their partner. They provide the speaker with feedback – but never interrupts, asking questions only when the conversational baton passes to them.

Utilise what you have learned

So, what’s the benefit of training your listening skills? Simple: it improves your bottom line. A client who feels respected and well-attended is more likely to trust your company, a client who trusts your company is more inclined to send their business your way. Ensure you’re present in conversation, the gains will be present in your profits.


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