In 1992, the American marketing professor, Thomas N. Ingram, ranked effective listening among the most essential skills for successful selling in the business environment and poor listening as one primary cause of failure. He listed six facets that help sales people listen more effectively in personal sales meetings.
A sales person should:
1. PAY ATTENTION
listen to understand rather than reply immediately to allow the buyer to communicate the message in full without interruption;
2. MONITOR NON-VERBALS
check that what buyers say matches their body language;
3. PARAPHRASE AND REPEAT
confirm correct understanding by repeating and paraphrasing the buyer's message;
4. MAKE NO ASSUMPTION
clarify the buyer's message by asking pruning questions;
5. ENCOURAGE THE BUYER TO TALK
maintain the information flow by providing positive feedback and by guiding the buyer though purposeful and related questions;
maximize attention and comprehension through reflection and visualisation of the buyer's message.
The model provides practical pointers for improving listening skills during a personal sales meeting in order to better understand the buyer's desires and needs and increase the success of the sales process.
Developing Effective Listening Skills is a mental process that requires training and practise.