According to research by Xerox, when three or more needs were discovered during an interview, a sale occurred. Thus, when a client is denied the chance to discuss their needs, a sale is practically out of the question. When you get right down to it, it’s a pretty simple equation: listening to needs plus offering the right solutions equals sales. Easy right?

Not always. Listening well is the most critical aspect of the interview and probe process. Yet, the American style of gaining business seemingly rewards those who can “talk” someone into buying. For advisors, lacking this skill can have costly results: The less you listen, the less trust you will gain. How you move past this obstacle will be a major determiner in the success you have in the future.

According to Kerry Johnson, a great rule of thumb is to listen at least 80 percent of the time, especially in the first hour of the interview. Also remember to talk for no more than 30 seconds at a time. Your prospect won’t listen past that anyway.