Salespeople can set themselves apart in today’s world of generic sales pitches by becoming adept at active listening. It is an invaluable skill that allows salespeople to build rapport with prospects, determine buyer needs and position themselves as experts within their field.

1. Focus on the person’s words

When listening to information or an objection shared by sales prospects, it’s essential that every detail be captured accurately. One effective method of doing this is paraphrasing what they have said – this ensures their message was properly captured without miscommunications or errors being missed in translation.

However, it’s essential to keep in mind that active listening is an acquired skill and needs practice. While it may be tempting to interrupt a prospect when they begin discussing their problems or product features, asking open-ended questions and providing feedback will keep prospects engaged with your salespeople and can combat common sales stereotypes by developing these skills over time.

2. Listen for nonverbal cues

No matter if it is in person or over video chat, body language plays an integral part of communication. Public speaking coaches frequently refer to Albert Mehrabian’s 738-55 rule for public speaking as evidence that only 7% of communication occurs through verbal means while 55% occurs nonverbally.

Nodding one’s head can indicate agreement with what’s being said; but nodding while looking at your phone indicates distraction and not listening properly to what the other person has to say.

An early question from your prospect can also be seen as an affirming signal of interest; they demonstrate their engagement and demonstrate they’re actively listening and engaged with what’s being presented to them.

3. Ask open-ended questions

Open-ended questions enable your prospects to share their ideas, thoughts and concerns without feeling pressured into talking about yourself; while simultaneously helping to establish trust and establish rapport. They’re an effective way of shifting away from product-centric language towards meeting business needs instead.

Open-ended questions allow you to identify your prospect’s pain points and determine how they would benefit from your solution. They also demonstrate your genuine interest in them and their business, so as to build trust quickly while decreasing objections and hesitation.

However, it’s crucial that you ask open-ended questions that will provide your prospect with answers they will find most beneficial. In particular, Impact or Benefit questions help prospects understand how your product will help solve their problems while making an informed decision to purchase.

4. Don’t interrupt

Interruptions by salespeople cost buyers the opportunity to be understood fully; further, trust must be built up with them so they feel that someone understands their world.

Interrupting someone can be tricky, particularly if your mind is swirling with ideas or you’re eager to present your solution. But it’s essential that interruption be avoided as this comes across as uncaring and prevents natural flow of conversation.

As a general guideline, try not to interrupt for 10-20 seconds after someone finishes speaking before asking any clarifying questions or paraphrasing their words back into their original form so as to ensure you understood their message properly.

5. Listen to body language

Body language plays an integral role in any sales conversation. Successful sellers know to keep their attention focused on the customer while avoiding distractions like checking their phones or turning away.

One key thing to keep in mind when engaging in dialogue is smiling; this can help build trust and demonstrate that you care about the conversation at hand.

Finally, paraphrasing what you hear back to the person shows that you are truly listening and allows them to check that they understood correctly what was said to them. This technique can be especially helpful when talking with someone remotely – watching videos of sales leaders such as Gary Vaynerchuk can be an effective way of learning this technique.