Attention sales leaders do you listen to your team? Before you jump the gun and say yes take a moment and think about it. How many times has a rep come in your office and you’ve completely zoned out while they talked? Today we talk about the best ways to communicate with your team, how to solve the problem, and focus on the future. As always if you have any questions feel free to schedule a free 30 minute consultation and i’ll do my best to help in any way I can.


What we’re going to cover:

  • Do we have a problem?
  • Walk in their shoes?
  • What’s not being said
  • Focus on the topic


Do we have a problem?


Bad listeners

“Well most of us are bad listeners let’s just get that out. It’s amazing how often you have to repeat yourself or if you’re communicating something to someone and they answer a different question than you asked.”


Do they rub you the wrong way?

“In my last position as VP of sales we had an open door policy and people just walked in your office and started talking to you. Sometimes it’s not something you want to hear because you just don’t have the time or you’re not in the mood for it. Now sometimes you sit there and pretend to listen while your mind is wandering all over the place so you’re not really hearing what’s being said.”


 Charlie Brown.

“It’s like old Peanuts cartoon where the only noise the adults was WAWA and it’s just this noise that’s coming out. They’re not really listening. It’s the same here for you as a sales manager or salesperson, they’re not really listening, you’re not really listening, you’re pretending to pay attention.”


Rinse and repeat

“What you really need to focus on is how to do that, how to pay attention and hear what they’re saying. I think the best thing we can do is admit we have a problem and figure out how to solve it.”

“We need to figure out how to be a good listener and then rinse and repeat regardless of who you’re sitting across from, that’s good practice.”

Walk in their shoes?


Good listeners

“You ever hear advice from anybody telling you to walk in their shoes for a day? It’s one of the things that I focused on a lot with my salespeople early on in their career. I wanted them to get an understanding of how other people view the world and how they do their jobs.”

“And in some cases, that’s just a learning experience, right? You want to complain about the admin staff or the support staff, get a feel for what they do every day all day.”


Their point of view.

“There’s wisdom in walking in somebody else’s shoes. That is part of what good listeners do, they focus on that other person, what they’re saying, they ask good questions, they listen in a very intense and deep way. They’re trying to see what the other person is saying from their perspective and if you do that they will feel like you hear them.”


Slow and steady

“Good listening means you need to slow down, why is that? Because our brain isn’t wired to connect at the speeds we need it to connect at. Our ability to process is much faster than our ability to speak so, we’re moving ahead of them.”

“How many times have you been in a conversation with somebody and you’re already formulating a response to them because you have an answer? Sometimes you’re in a hurry to give an answer and it frustrates people. So, you have to slow down and pace yourself.”

“You just have to sit back, listen, and process what’s being said, slow and steady wins the race, right? That’s what we’re talking about, taking your time, walking yourself in their shoes, focusing on what’s being said especially from their point of view. “

What’s not being said


Body language

“Body language is critical. If you just listen long enough people will tell you what you want to hear, they will tell you everything. They’ll tell you through their verbal communication, non-verbal communication, body language, emotions. If you pay attention to that the facial expressions, the gestures, tone of their voice, it all changes the meaning.”


Dance around the subject

“Sometimes people dance around the subject, they’re not comfortable hitting it head on so they’re not expressing what they feel or what they’re thinking. Instead, you have to look at that body language and those nonverbal cues to bring it out in the conversation.”

“So, pay attention, sit back, watch, look at the body language and nonverbal cues, what folks that are dancing around the subject are saying, and you’ll pick up a lot. People need to understand what you’re saying. But you need to understand what they’re saying too.”

Focus on the topic


Don’t get side tracked

“So, here’s what happens somebody pops their head in and you start down one road talking about something and the next thing you know you down all these rabbit holes.

1. Central idea

“They just may want to vent to you or they may need your help just cheering them on so first you need to understand what they’re saying.”


2. The core

“Look at the central idea the core of what they’re talking about. You want to take something away from this conversation. You want to know why they started the conversation.”


3. Ask them what they need.

“It’s okay to ask that. If you understand the motivation behind what they want to talk to you about, you can further help them. Find out the motivation, found out the central idea of what they’re talking about the core, because this could go on and on.  This is so you can provide the best feedback possible.”


Understand your biases

“Now something that I think you should focus on is your own biases. Birds of a feather, right? We like and are receptive to people who think the way we do even when they are lying to us. And when they don’t agree with us we start shutting down, we turn it off. You have to understand these emotional filters that you have and understand your own prejudices and bias.”

The solution:

“So, if you know somebody who really annoys you that you down agree with, slow down, take your time, understand why you’re there, what you’re there for, and reserve that judgement until you hear everything. It’s liberating.”

“You need to put those biases aside to be a good sales manager. You really want to understand what they’re saying and help them resolve their problems. It’s not about being right, it’s about listening and processing what’s being said to you and then providing a response that’s appropriate.”


Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.


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