Listen, Learn, and Lead

By definition, new ideas appear unexpectedly and this one is no exception.

It’s a concept rooted in one of the oldest traditions of selling, but with a fresh new twist.

I discovered this one from reading about a famous public figure who opened a high-level meeting with this statement:

“I came here to listen, to learn, and to lead.”

With this simple, powerful opening, he was no longer just a professorial lecturer or speaker. He placed himself in the role of the student. He was open and ready to listen and learn, a far more acceptable role to any audience.

He also immediately re-positioned himself and effectively side stepped any embedded resistance. Most importantly, he captured their attention and ignited their imaginationby adding a simple element of surprise to what they already knew.

The familiar sales phrase, “learn to listen, listen to learn” is an important tool to use. But adding the third step to the process as in: “listen, learn, lead” turns it into the perfect tool for any selling activity, as simple as it is powerful.


Each one of these three words and concepts depend on the other two. What makes them unique is their interdependency when used in the order listed.

Sometimes it’s easier to understand if you look at it in reverse. You can’t lead the prospect where you want them to go unless you first learn what they need and want and want to go. Also, it’s impossible to discover what their problems are unless you first listen to them.

If you ask questions designed to interest the client, engage their attention and stimulate his or her imagination, then listen to what they say, you’re well on your way to a potential sale. This way, you can learn what they really want and need and you can then lead them to a point where they realize the benefit of doing business with you.

There is no guarantee that any sales tool will work in every situation.  But, I can assure you of this: omitting one of these three ingredients – listen, learn, lead – will guarantee that you will lose the sale. Because the, listen, learn, lead, concept aligns with the fundamental principles underlying all selling actions: Show the customer how they can get what they want.

Just remember to follow each of these three steps, in this order:

Listen, Learn, and Lead.

You’ll have happier clients and easier sales.  And that is worth it, isn’t it?

daniel w. jacobs
(c) 2010-2030, all rights reserved


5 Responses to “Listen, Learn, and Lead”

  1. This is great. I’ve got to apply these marketing concepts to my videography business, especially to the high schools for taping their annual plays and such. I love doing the actual shooting/editing/production but profoundly dislike the marketing of my services. Now is the time for me to get the material together for the coming year. – Rod

  2. Sue Hawley Says:

    This is a good one and one to use no matter what “the sale” is- a tangible item or service or just an idea. (-: Nicely written and understandable- have already sent it on to a friend of mine who does have a hard time listening….(-:

  3. Ray Thomen Says:

    Truly a classic. How many times do we miss the “KISS” approach?
    Keep swingin’

  4. Jerry Cameron Says:

    Dan- This is solid and true. I used this very technique to rise to the top of my game while selling pest control services. After establishing a partnership with the client the next step is to share the depth of your subject expertise in a manner that allows them to share their knowlecde along with you. All leading to t…he conclusion that they will arrrive at that they require your product or services in order to solve their problem or desires.- Have a great day and thanks fpor sharing-Jerry Cameron

  5. Cary Kilner Says:

    Once again Dan has reduced what is sometimes seen and made out to be a complicated cycle, into the sheer simplicity it really is. Who could fail by following this straightforward advice?

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