Sales Course / Introduction to Selling Newsletter – Great salespeople are great listeners

“Give me someone of average ability with a burning desire and I will give you a winner in return; every time” Andrew Carnegie

In today’s challenging times highly productive and motivated sales staff are key to business survival. More and more managers are tasked with improving sales performance and training staff how to sell more. If you want to get more customers buying your products and services your sales team must be able to use productive selling techniques; sales closing skills; be confident in answering objections; even down to dealing with difficult customers.

We, at Total Success Training Ltd are always being asked if our Sales Training Courses and Telemarketing Seminars teach techniques ‘that really work’ in the real world’. The answer to that question is ‘YES’ because our trainers not only train sales techniques but have actually sold over the telephone in previous jobs. They are able to use their experience to train our delegates to understand the tools and techniques that will enable them to sell confidently and with flair.

We have over 20 years of sales training expertise and use our experiences to show the best and most practical ways to boost sales results and how to sell effectively.

This is a valuable foundation course that is highly structured, interactive and focuses on bringing out the best of our delegates in a supportive environment. Most people possess the ability to sell and negotiate and our trainers use their 20 years of selling and training experience to increase the confidence and competence of potential sales ‘superstars’.

Introduction to Selling, Telesales, Negotiation skills and Presentation Skills are some of the sales related courses trained by Total Success Training  throughout the UK.  If you require further information on our training courses please contact us.


Active listening means moving from a passive acceptance of what customers say to an empathetic response.  Listening involves not only receiving sounds but accurately understanding their meaning. It means being sensitive to vocal clues.


 It creates a rapport; you are more likely to develop a good relationship with your customers if they feel that you have understood them. Listening accurately is one way you can build your position as an “influencer”.  It helps you to be perceived as competent and trustworthy. It helps people to talk. Good listening helps your customers feel that you have understood and accept what they are saying. If your customers are to feel that you are listening attentively, you need to develop the ability to “get inside their skins”. Listen carefully and allow customers the time to tell you what they want in their own terms.


The reasons behind why listening does not come easily to us fall under five main headings:

 i) Society Rewards the Talkers

The main reason stems right back to our earliest conditioning and upbringing. Right from the cradle we learn that making a noise brings attention and satisfaction. As children, the noisiest and loudest often become the leaders and innovators of childhood games and activities. Even in formal education the children who always answer questions, and who speak out clearly and distinctly, are the more favored and praised.

All this is important. We need to learn to speak well and effectively, but the balance is such that listening becomes seen as passive, as indicating a submissive position and as showing us up as having nothing to say.

ii) I’m More Important Than You

Listening means paying attention to someone else’s needs and concerns when clearly, for most of us, our own needs are more important – the interesting part of the conversation begins when we get a chance to talk. For some people, listening is frankly boring and irksome. We have all been at the receiving end of listeners who carry on with other activities or who allow their eyes to gaze glassily on the middle distance. How difficult it is to continue to converse when this happens.

 iii) Thoughts Are Faster Than Words

Another big problem is that we can think much faster than we can speak. This obviously means that listeners have ‘time available’ which can either be put to good use, by concentrating and trying to understand what is said, or to bad use, by allowing distractions and their own thoughts to intrude.

iv) We’re Not So Good at Speaking Either

Finally, the fault is not all with the listener. As speakers we often send mixed or veiled messages. We use language and speech patterns which are not suitable, are uninteresting, or we simply send too much information. Thus we make it hard for listeners to absorb and understand what we mean.


Poor listening shows itself in many ways. Certain types of behaviour do, however, seem to be particularly common.

Aggressive Listening

Knowing that listening is important, we try so hard to be good listeners that we intimidate others by staring and by remarks such as “Come on, I am listening”.

Intellectual Listening

In this case we listen only to the words and are deaf to the emotions behind them. As a result, we become easily bored because we have heard it all before. We are quick with solutions, while speakers really want someone to talk to and can easily think of a solution themselves.

Overly Passive Listening

We feel we have little to contribute and will nod agreement with anything said to us. By failing to communicate with any sincerity, we may miss a lot of what we should be hearing.

Prejudiced Listening

We are often unable to separate what we hear from preconceptions or from our own emotional concerns and interests. Depending on our political views, for example, no conservative or socialist could ever have anything useful to say.

We will all, from time to time display some of these characteristics, especially when we are under time pressure or have our own worries or concerns. At these times, we should be particularly careful otherwise our listening will not be as efficient as it should be.


Listening skills can be markedly improved by the following points and by practicing them frequently:

Learn to Tolerate Silence

Most people are embarrassed by silence and when someone ‘dries up’, we rush to fill the gap. Good listeners are not afraid of silence. Mozart said it was the most profound sound in music. Silence allows time for thoughts to be gathered and it can also be used to apply gentle pressure on others to elaborate, without giving your own position away or putting words into their mouth.

Look and Listen Hard

As we talk we reveal ourselves. Unless we closely observe people, we will miss well over half of the message they are conveying through emphasis in voice, body language and eye contact.

Ask Questions

Not just to be polite, but to clarify what is being communicated. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t understand or to ask for repetition. Keep your questions open-ended and avoid putting answers into people’s mouths.

Reflect Feelings

When someone shows emotion, indicate that you recognise this. Use paraphrasing to reflect the meaning that is coming across so that the speaker can confirm or alter your understanding.

Use your Body Language

Make sure that your body language eye contact, expression, gestures and posture demonstrates an interest in the speaker.

Know Your Own Emotional Biases

Recognise your own preferences and prejudices try to allow for them in anything you hear. We can never be completely free of emotional filters and we are all subject to them. Be particularly on guard when dealing with people or situations we dislike or fundamentally do not agree with. Experiments show how people will interpret identical messages differently if they are told different original sources for the message.

Avoid Judging

Good listeners create warm, non-judgmental atmospheres and, of course they learn far more as a result. Speakers become defensive and clam up the more they feel under judgment or evaluation. Avoid statements or questions such as ‘Why didn’t you . ..?’ or “You should have….” as these can be perceived as an attack and create this defensiveness. Hear people out; then you may be able to act on the full story rather than on unreliable fragments.

The Main Trouble Spot

The biggest trouble spot for most listeners is their own anger. When we are attacked verbally we become defensive or angry and our listening power is correspondingly decreased. Similarly, when the speaker is angry, we must keep our cool and try to defuse the emotion so that more effective communication can be established.

Other Aids to Listening

Efficient note-taking should be developed as an aid to retention. Given the number of conversations a manager can be involved in during a working day, without notes, mistakes will be made and important details forgotten. Tape recorders can be useful.


Given the amount of time we spend doing it, listening is a business activity too easily underestimated or dismissed. It has been called the missing link in communication and it is clearly a skill worth developing. The good listener is definitely at an advantage in any business interactions. Listening is much more than a passive way of receiving information. In any meeting, the listener shares with the speaker a large part of the responsibility for the success of the communication that is being attempted.

Sales Courses – Introduction to Selling – Course Dates

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Who will benefit from the course?

This course is designed to give new salespeople the confidence to appoint, present to and close potential customers. Delegate numbers are limited to no more than six to allow an environment where the maximum learning can be achieved. We use a combination of learning methods but place emphasis on role-play reinforcement of real life situations based on products and services relevant to the delegate’s organisation.

Introduction to Selling Course Agenda

  • Introductions and objectives
  • The psychology and principles of selling
  • How to create positive first impressions
  • Building trust and rapport with your customers
  • Using questions to uncover customer needs
  • Listening skills
  • Understanding features and selling benefits
  • Identifying buying signals
  • Understanding and handling objections with ease
  • Closing the sale
  • Appointment making
  • Final paperwork and action planning

Our training is carried out in a risk free environment which encourages delegates to practice the skills needed for successful appraisals. We use a number of training methods including role-play, video, audio, workshops and group exercises to enhance the learning process.

Why choose Total Success for your training?

  • our lead trainers have over 18 years experience in training
  • a maximum of 8 delegates means more time spent on individual needs
  • we guarantee to run the course and will never cancel at the last moment
  • free subscription to our monthly training newsletter

All open courses are trained in Central London at the St Giles Hotel.

Each delegate receives a comprehensive training workbook that doubles as an open course manual. Courses run from 9.30-5.30 with lunch and refreshments provided.

In-Company Courses

Total Success have developed a series of in-house training modules. These are designed so that an organisation can pick the training which is more applicable to its own needs and budget. Please call us to discuss your specific requirements

Total Success Training Packs

Why use a total success training pack

If you are looking to run your own training course but lack the materials and the time to develop a fully functional training seminar we produce a range of training materials and packs which will suit your requirements exactly. All of our packs and been written by our own training experts and we can guarantee that the training pack will satisfy your course requirements. Each pack will contain a full set of PowerPoint training slides, trainer’s notes, a course manual, and a full set of handouts and activities.

We have been running our courses since 1995 and have trained 1000’s of people via open courses and in-company seminars. We guarantee that the course you buy is the one we train. All courses are trainer and trainee friendly so you’ll be up and running quickly (depending on your training experience).

We know how difficult it is to choose amongst the many training materials available on line, that’s why we have 3 packages that will suit you needs. With our gold, silver and bronze packages you can choose the training format that’s right for you and your budget. Call us 0044 (0)208 269 1177 to discuss your requirements or email us

Related information

Total success training also produced a number of newsletter webpages that carry great information on all our training topics.  Below you will find a selection of related newsletter pages. You can click on any of the links and they will give you stacks of really interesting information relating to this subject t. If you like the content of these pages you can subscribe to our newsletter page and we will send you a newsletter every month. we update our pages very regularly so will always be more great information each time you log onto our site.
Click on any of these links for stacks of great tips and techniques sales and selling techniques

Total Success book’s and publications

The Book. If you really don’t have the time to attend one of our fantastic training courses and seminars, don’t worry. You can still enhance your knowledge and skills by purchasing training information from our website. Our lead trainer, Warren Wint has written a book entitled ‘Successful Time Management’ which is packed with tips and techniques to help you manage your time more effectively and more efficiently. You can purchase the book by clicking on the link below and downloading it to your own computer

Bite-sized Training Guides. We had also produced a range of bite-sized training guides on various subjects relating to all our training topics. These short guides are written to give enough information on the topics that interest you. We include topics such as managing e-mail, setting goals and prioritising, the art and skill of effective delegation, and managing busy workloads and deadlines. These are designed for you to work through your topics in approximately 30 to 40 min, and not only give you valuable information but also include exercises and activities to enable you to learn at your own pace and on the go. These are very competitively priced at 99p each because we want you to not only gain valuable information but also to keep coming back and purchasing more to enable you to become a fabulous manager of time. Click the links below and download our training guides as PDF documents so you will be able to start achieving your goals today!


We produce a range of podcasts and audio downloads that you can download to hear how we conduct our training courses. These are available in live audio if you click on the links below and it’s almost like being on one of our courses. They allow you to hear how we carry out some of the topics in our training courses. If you like them and want to hear more please go to our Podcast pages on the website

Listen to our Time Management Podcasts