Last week I sat with a client while he was presenting his product to a potential buyer. My client started presenting his product in detail, including color, size, etc. a lot of information which had nothing to do with the product performance. The potential buyer was honest and after 10 minutes said” I just want information on your product performance.” My client said OK and then proceeded along the same path as before. At the end of the presentation there was not an immediate buy but an “I’ll get back to you”.
I doubt if the prospect will return! The client did not recognize the buyer’s needs, nor did he listen to his information request.
Most people believe that they are effective listeners. However, research indicates that on average we are effective and listen at only a 25% efficiency level. Undiagnosed bad habits such as interrupting, allowing ourselves to be distracted, jumping to conclusions, daydreaming and thinking that the speaker does not mean what he says, prevent us from becoming the kind of listeners we think we are.
Listening is hard work. It requires patience, persistence and a concentrated effort to understand what is being said. My firsts mentor told me that he who talks the most loses. The following are several listening tips that may help you:
- Learn to want to listen: To be good listeners we must be willing to give up a preoccupation with ourselves.
- Be present: Only when choose to “be present” are we focused on the speaker and the message.
- Be a whole body listener: That includes our eyes, your body and your heart.
- Control distractions: In our non-stop world of distractions including other people, staff, cell phones, computers and especially your mind thinking of other issues or trying to form an answer to your prospect before they finish speaking , all prevent us from really hearing the other person.
My last and most important tip is: Don’t think that you already know what your customer wants or what you think he needs. Keep an open, receptive mind.
If you follow these rules then when your prospect asks a question, you can hear what was said and take the appropriate action or give the appropriate response.
We all have good listening intentions. The thing that separates those who are successful from those who are not is how well these “good intentions” are carried out.