Are You A Good Listener?

“Listen with your eyes as well as your ears.” ― Graham Speechley.

Born in New York City in 1912, Ben Feldman is considered to be one of the most outstanding salespeople in history. At one point, he held the world record for the most life insurance product sold by a salesman in a career. Born to immigrant parents Isaac and Bertha Feldman, Ben was one of nine children. When his family moved to Ohio, his first sales job was in his family’s wholesale poultry business.

As an adult, he started his career in life insurance sales. When asked to share his insights at speaking engagements, he often refused due to stage-fright. After a while, he agreed to speak to audiences, but only if he was interviewed from behind a curtain so he couldn’t view the audience.  Despite his fear of speaking on stage, he seemed to have a gift in talking with people one on one and helping them understand the value of life insurance.

He often said that salespeople must learn to listen with three ears.

We should listen to…

…What they say.

…What they don’t say.

…What they would like to say, but don’t quite know how to say it.

What made Ben Feldman such an outstanding salesman? In large part, it was his ability to listen beyond what was being said, so that he could truly understand his client and explain his product in a way in which they could comprehend its value.

What an important lesson for us in our personal life as well as in our work environment – every person we encounter desires to be understood. Whether we are communicating with family, friends or people in our work place, let’s take a lesson from this great salesman and deliberately listen with three ears. Of course we should listen attentively to other peoples words, but also listen to what they don’t say by observing expressions and body language. Finally, listen to what they want to say, but just don’t know how to say it by asking good questions and trying to understand their perspective.

With whom will you apply this principle today?

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