In our Selling in the Internet Age sales training courses, I ask individuals to rate their listening skills at the outset of the program. Typically salespeople rate their listening skill as above average. We then videotape a listening exercise to calibrate actual skill level. Having trained thousands of salespeople we have observed that most salespeople’s listening skills are average at the start of the program. Naturally the top performers stand out with highly developed skills, but for the core group, this is a priority area for development.
I rate my own listening skills as an area for development and I am aware of this problem as my wife reminds of it often, which is why I tuned into a recent McKinsey video excerpt of AMGEN’s CEO Kevin Sharer talking about his own epiphany when it came to listening and how he became a good listener.