Want To Be a More Successful Sales Professional? Just Listen! – by Paul Alves

In my experience, it’s the small things that make all the difference. The simple things, the things that are easy to do, or not do. I have been in sales for over 25 years, some would say longer. My Father was a Chef, and used to bring home the most delicious (and large) sandwiches for my lunch when I was in school. I would take orders and sell half each day. It kept my gas tank full in those days. I might have to sell a body part today to do the same, but I digress. What I have found over the years is that it is my ability to communicate that has attributed to my success in sales and in business. I am not really selling, I am communicating. One can not communicate effectively without LISTENING. In my experience, 80% of salespeople are not as successful as they could be. Most could improve their performance dramatically if they just learned to listen better. I have also observed that a much higher percentage of women sales-professionals succeed. Now, please excuse my blatant sexism here, but among a long list of things women are known to be better at, being better listeners is near the top. Just saying.

Show me a salesperson who is not successful and I will show you a salesperson who is not listening. Over the years, my sales teams have heard more than once, “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason,” or “your not going to learn anything about your prospect’s problem by talking.” This leads me to my next point, which is what to listen for. Prospects do not care how great you, your product, or your company is. They care about how you, your product or your company can help solve their problem or pain.  So, my suggestions for those of you that may be speaking more than listening is.  1)  Ask questions that will uncover the prospects pain, like What are you trying to accomplish?  Why? or What would you like to see our product or service do for you, why is that important?  (The Why is usually the most important part of the question.) 2) LISTEN! If you want to make money by speaking, become a public speaker.  Lots of people get paid to speak.  But, if you want to make money in sales, you better learn to listen.


Paul Alves is Chief Executive Officer and co-Founder AG Salesworks.  He started the company in 2002 with his business partner and AG Salesworks President and Chief Operations Officer Peter Gracey.  In his current position, Paul is responsible for developing and executing longterm corporate strategy and building overall company value.  He is also serving as the acting Vice President of Sales with oversight responsibility for driving corporate revenue.  Prior to founding AG Salesworks, Alves and Gracey worked together at Webhire (now Kenexa), a software firm selling applicant-tracking software to companies ranging from startup to Fortune 500.

“By providing an environment where our team can grow professionally, financially and personally we are able to develop and maintain a team of professionals who set the standard for excellence in this industry. Having access to this level of talent brings tremendous value through best in class process to the sales & marketing teams of our clients.”

Paul Alves,
Chief Executive Officer