The Art of Listening: A Critical Skill for Sales and Life

Function: Sales

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According to Gartner, 33% of B2B buyers prefer to not interact with sellers, in part because humans don’t like being “sold to.” And thanks to the easy access to detailed information, buyers increasingly don’t need sellers. 

Therefore, as B2B sellers, we have to focus on providing as much value as possible. And what do buyers value most? Being understood.

In this interactive course, we’ll learn all about the powerful listening frameworks and practical tactics used by therapists, nonviolent conflict resolution experts, and the very best sales professionals.


Designer Bio

Ryan Vaillancourt is VP of Sales at, where he consults revenue leaders on scaling coaching programs to support exponential growth. Prior to a career switch into software sales, he was an award-winning journalist, covering Los Angeles politics, business and poverty. Turns out, the day-to-day of a newspaper reporter - curiosity-driven interviewing, cold calling people who didn’t ask for your call, and effective communication - translate well to sales. Ask him about bikes, and breakfast burritos in LA. 


Who Should Take

Sales professionals at every level. Individual contributors looking to improve their sales craft, to managers and leaders looking to improve their listening skills. The skills are equally as applicable to internal communication as they are to customer engagements.

Results to Expect

After taking the course, students can expect a significant shift in their sales conversations that results in a deeper understanding of their customers. This better understanding leads to more and larger deals. 

Homework, Assignments, or Expectations

Yes - See the Course Outline section

Attendance Requirements

100% attendance is required for certification. While we strongly recommend live attendance, students who cannot attend due to scheduling conflicts or timezone challenges can watch a recording of class to receive credit for attendance.


Session 1: Reflective Listening - a competitive advantage in sales

Description: We’ll start with an introduction to “Reflective Listening,” the high-level framework honed by therapists, conflict resolution experts, professional negotiators, and the best sales professionals. What is it? Why does it work? What does it sound like? We’ll model variations on this technique, and practice with live role play. Guaranteed to spark the best dinner-time convo later that night. 



  1. At home, ask your roommate, partner, or phone a friend and ask: “How was your day?” Try to use mostly reflections as long as possible. The goal is to just have a great conversation focused on your counterpart, not you. Remember, this only works if you’re truly curious. 
  2. Review one of your own sales calls (recorded call or recorded video meeting). Use this template, share with your instructor via email. 

Session 2: Applied Listening: Tactical Habits that will Boost Your Win Rate

Description: Reflective listening is more than just repeating back what you heard (though, make a habit of that alone, and you’ll outperform most of your peers). In this module, we’ll dive into 3 repeatable tactics to improve your listening, and how to apply what you’ve learned.

  1. Split Attention
  2. The listener’s guide to note taking
  3. The “challenge email”

Session 3: The Listening Technique to Overcome Any Objection 

Description: Based in the reflective listening techniques and habits covered in Modules 1-2, learn and practice a new framework to understand and overcome any sales objection.

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