What can Oprah Winfrey Teach us About Selling? (or leading, managing, relationships?)

I watched a bit of the interview Barbara Walters did with Oprah Winfrey the other day. Barbara interviewed one of Oprah’s guests, Dr. Mehmet Oz,  for the show. He nailed one of her key attributes for success – Listening.

“She hears what you are saying”
    “She hears much more than what you are verbally saying”
        “She hears your emotions, the pain in your heart, the thoughts in your head”

“So what, she’s a talk show host,” you might say.  When we can get out of our own way and listen as Ms. Winfrey does, we will learn all sorts of things that we would not have, by staying on point. For example:

We will hear that our prospect is checking their email while they are on the phone with us. Do you really think you are going to make that sale unless you get her attention?

We will pick up on the fact that our buyer is concerned about how the other stakeholders will react to a change and we can address the issue before it becomes an objection.

We will be able to know that our buyer is in “pain” but they think, it isn’t so bad now, “I can wait.” We can then help clarify their thinking and the cost of the status quo.

Oprah has become one of the most powerful influencers in America. She has done it in part because of the way she listens. She is willing to listen and let the agenda be damned while she and her guest or audience members go in a different direction and get to the heart of the matter.

–   Wouldn’t you like your buyers to get to the heart of the matter?
–   Where do you listen deeply?
–   Do you listen deeply enough to hear the feelings?
–   Should we listen like Oprah?

Take Good Care

One Comment:

  1. Hi John,

    You are preaching to the converted on this one. As you know, I teach classes in listening and everyone who takes the class tells me when they start that they are great listeners only to discover that they really are not. People have learned to reflect back what is being said to them without really paying attention to it. So they hear the words without hearing the meaning. People like Oprah who listen fully and aren’t busy processing their rebuttal are rare. This skill is critical in any position, but especially in sales.

    Keep up the good work.


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