Intentional Listening – Part 1

Many salespeople mistakenly believe that listening is just waiting for their turn to talk.

Listening has now become a lost art.


Jim Tressel is a champion college football coach whose teams have won five national championships. Tressel now serves as the president of Youngstown State University, my alma mater.

I have had the good fortune to get to know Jim Tressel over the years. He is an incredible leader and serves as an ambassador for the community. He is also a phenomenal salesperson.

Tressel’s capacity for remembering people’s names is incredible. He has the ability to meet a person one time, conduct a short conversation, and then later recall the essence of that conversation. 

In doing research for my book, I asked Jim about his skill at remembering people’s names and recalling details about their lives. I asked him to describe what he would tell sales professionals who wanted to master this skill. Here is what he told me:

– “We are all selling. I sat in the living rooms of thousands of student athletes being recruited for our football team and getting to know their family. To win them over, it was critical to understood what was most important to them.

– Likewise, now when I accompany a future college student and their family on a tour of our campus, it is still critical to understand the student’s passions and what things are vital to them in attending college.”

“Intentional listening” is how Tressel learned to remember so many people and recall their personal circumstances. I was intrigued and needed to understand more about this…

I’m DJ Sebastian… and we’ll continue this discussion on what Jim Tressel taught me about Intentional Listening in the next flash briefing.