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.

You can be good if you know how to respond in a way that the other party would think they're genuinely listening -- in other words, they could be pretending. Being a "real" conversationalist is being sincere:

Do you really listen to your customers and provide what they want, or are you more focused on finding the most profitable way to sell your product and then trying to convince the customer that what you're doing is actually for their benefit? [...]

It is hard not to use Twitter for one-way communication. The way the stream flies past so fast conversations and interactions take work. Plus, you usually have to follow a trail of breadcrumbs to see what the initial tweet was about. However, because that's how the majority of users are handling their time on Twitter, it becomes useful in ways you may not have thought of.

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.

Employers need to develop a profile of their ideal salesperson. This requires the executive team to collaborate and be truly honest about the interworkings of the company. Their profile should include three primary components: product characteristics, buying process, and organizational attributes.

Ask any successful person how they became successful. They will tell you that they had a vision and developed a game plan to achieve that vision. Sales is no different. Know your success metrics and develop your game plan to achieve them.

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.