3 years ago
January 5, 2015

Are You Listening? The Best Listeners Make the Best Salespeople

After interviewing thousands of salespeople over the past five years, few things surprise me. The interview I had the other day was the exception.

Rhys Metler

Are You Listening? The Best Listeners Make the Best Salespeople

After interviewing thousands of salespeople over the past five years, few things surprise me. The interview I had the other day was the exception. I sat down with this individual to discuss his background and learn more about what type of sales job would best suit his talents. What I uncovered was fascinating.

I started the interview by asking him one question: “Tell me why you are looking to leave your current employer?” This is a straightforward question that gives  insight into what type of person they are, what type of company or management style would suit them etc… It is also important to note that someone who is truly leaving by their own choice will answer this question well. Those who are underperforming typically take a long time to answer this question. At a basic level it helps us understand if they have even listened to the question!

This individual spoke non-stop for – and I’m serious here – 40 minutes and still didn’t answer the original question. Some people would ask, “Why would you waste your time letting this person ramble on about themselves like that?”. I found this person’s terrible listening skills to be incredibly interesting and was very curious to see if there was a limit to their lack of self-awarness, but this experience drove home a valuable point. I’ve long said that being a good listener is the most important trait a sales person could have, and this person proved that.

If you possess good listening skills, a number of things are going to happen:

  • You will uncover things about a prospect you otherwise would not have heard
  • You will truly uncover whether or not the prospect has a need for your product or service
  • They will feel that you are someone who cares and you will begin to earn their trust
  • There won’t be any misunderstandings that can derail the sale

Think about the people you like and trust. Quite often they are people who listen to your problems, ask questions about your life and offer suggestion and advice. They don’t talk non-stop for 40 minutes when you ask them a question. The same is true in sales. The best sales people are the best listeners because they are trying to understand the true needs of the client.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.