I learned an important lesson last week. My wife reminds me that I have a bad habit of interrupting other people when they are talking to me and that afternoon I saw myself in another person.
I brought a possible customer to visit with one of my consulting clients. My intent was to have my client share the benefits of doing business with him and then answer questions. We had a definite appointment, scheduled a week earlier. I arrived a few minutes early and found that my client had booked another appointment for the same time. When my guests arrived, I apologized that my client had an unexpected “drop-in” and would be with us in a few minutes. Our meeting started 20 minutes late.
After introductions, I asked my client to share his story and to talk about the benefits his company offered. I was aware that the potential client I brought in was in need of his services.
The following two hours were taken up with my client telling how great he and his business were. When he paused, the guest started to ask a question. before the questioned was stated my client was answering the uncomplete question and then continued with his story. In the space of two hours my guest spoke for less than five minutes. I had prepared my client with a 20 minute power point presentation which covered the important points in his business; it got lost in his eagerness to talk as much and as fast as he could in order to hopefully make a sale.
After everyone left, I spent 30 minutes with my client talking about the “Art of Listening”. His motivation was good, but his actions were wrong.
In business, to listen effectively is to reach clarity of understanding. When you understand clearly, you can respond appropriately. The goal, when making a presentation is to listen, to ask questions that can’t be answered with a “yes or no”. Listen to the “pains” that a prospect has, and then resolve those pains with clear and concise statements. The key elements to good listening are:
- Hear the message (pay attention, select what is important and recognize emotional messages)
- Interpret the message (look for hidden meaning in his words and posture)
- Evaluate the message (make sure you have all the information you need before giving an answer. Ask questions if necessary)
- Respond to the message
Remember the old saying: “God gave us two ears and one mouth; we should do twice as much listening as talking.”
Are you really listening or are you just waiting to be heard?
Comments are closed