Listening is a vital skill that is often neglected and yet is crucial to your sales success. Be aware of the five stages of effective listening and get into the habit of recognising and practising these stages;

Aware salespeople are the greatest asset to any successful business; they will naturally display all the attributes we associate with success. Whether selling complex solutions or simple transactions, an aware salesperson will always stand out.

The ability to listen, not only to what is said but to what is not quite said, is essential if you want to improve your sales skills and increase your sales results.

If you've read any of my work, then you know my favorite four words are, "Shut up and listen." You also know that I think the mute button is the most important button on your phone. To prove this to yourself, make a commitment today to asking questions and using the mute button to let your prospect answer you. You'll be surprised by what your prospects will reveal and how much easier it is to get deals.

If what you sell for a living means you have to pick up the phone - either to set appointments, call prospects back, return calls to clients, etc., then you have to learn how to sound natural and how to avoid putting your prospects, gatekeepers, assistants, etc., on notice that you're trying to sell something.

Listen with full attention and don't interrupt. You don't ask other questions. You just keep listening even when you think they're done. By not interrupting, I often heard my prospect tell me exactly what I needed to do or say to sell them.

Why is listening such a powerful sales competency? It is our primary way of digging beneath the surface of a customer's needs and uncovering deeper and more powerful needs and motivations. When we listen, we send a powerful message that we care about the other person. When we don't listen, we send the message that our agenda is far more important than the customer's trivial ideas and issues.

Turning prospects in to customers is a big challenge many business owners face especially when they are not skilled in the selling process. But having customers is necessary to grow your business so here are 7 simple secrets to turning prospects into customers.

Active listening is a way to encourage communication. It ensures that the listener is actually listening to what the speaker has to say.

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. -Tolstoy In any economy, learning to close the deal is a challenge for your workforce. Especially in these tough times, sales and marketing training can make the difference for your staff. Mastery of negotiation skills is a profound education.