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Salespeople - Beyond Listening Skills
By Dave Kurlan, CEO, Objective Management Group

Salespeople's good listening skills are important for the prospect of the business. This article summarizes the different listening skills that need to be developed.

Everyone knows the importance of good listening skills when it comes to selling.  Salespeople with good listening skills will hear the issues their prospects have. Salespeople with good questioning skills will identify the problems causing those issues by questioning what their prospect says.  Salespeople with both good listening and questioning skills will be able to reiterate those problems and issues.

Taking it one step further, a rare skill, possessed by only a fraction of the finest salespeople - and often some of the most simple-minded of them - is the ability to recognize that one compelling thing on which their prospect will invest money to solve.  In order for your salespeople to develop this skill, they must be able to see the forest through the trees. They must be able to rifle through their prospect's list of symptoms and problems and tell the prospect the one thing that may not even appear on the list, like, "it's clear to me that the single biggest problem you have right now is how overwhelming this all is..."

That prospect will spend money, with your company, right now, to no longer feel overwhelmed by their issues and problems because your salesperson identified that one compelling thing for which the prospect would spend money.   
Help your salespeople learn this skill and they will double or even triple their sales in a very short period of time.  In order to have success learning this skill, your salespeople must clear their minds, stop using their scripts, eliminate their 50 questions, and stop presenting, They must instead ask questions that will cause their prospect to tell them about issues, symptoms, problems, frustrations and dissatisfaction.  When their prospects begin to talk about these issues, your salespeople must be able to dig deeper, get clarification and learn about consequences.  Most importantly, they must be able to summarize the whole situation - put a single word on it, like overwhelmed, or stunned, or frustrated - to identify the single compelling reason why they might buy.

This is a compelling skill to have.  The increase in competition makes this a compelling time to have it.  Can you provide your salespeople with a compelling reason for them to develop it?

Dave Kurlan is the author of Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know About the Game of Baseball ( ). He is the founder of Objective Management Group, Inc. ( ), the pioneers in sales assessments and he is the CEO of David Kurlan & Associates, Inc. ( ) a leading sales force development firm. Dave can be reached at 800-221-6337 or by email at

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