A question that was posed to me recently: How can I get my customers to listen to me more?
Answer: At first I thought it was a trick question because I certainly had a trick answer.
Listen to them more! (Is it that simple, no, but go with me on this.) How do you get people to listen to you more? You spend more time listening to them – and you increase the intensity and skill with which you listen.
According to the book Real Influence, most styles of listening fall into a few distinct categories. There’s avoidance listening where one nods his head politely but blows off the speaker. There’s the individual who listens in a defensive posture and takes everything personally. There’s also the listener who listens solely to solve problems in a mechanical fashion which leaves his conversational partner unsatisfied, unrelieved and misunderstood.
These are not the good choices! No. A good choice is listening with a strong personal motive to learn and understand. A good choice is to view listening as a way to expand possible outcomes and not a tedious chore that must be undertaken because that’s what the business books say. A good choice is to avoid the practice of waiting for the speaker to stop speaking just so you can thrust your point out into the stratosphere. A good strategy is to pause often – so she can speak, and, as a way to stop yourself from speaking. A good strategy is eliminating distractions. A good strategy is staying in her world and resisting the urge to retreat back to your world.
Ask the following questions to stimulate conversation.
How do you feel about…?
What do you think about…?
What’s your take on…?
What are you thinking/feeling about this?
What was your first reaction when you heard?
And what do you get for these actions and questions? What’s the prize behind door no 3? You give Joe a chance to exhale. These days it’s easy to get so crazy overloaded. With a crazy boss and crazy kids and crazy traffic, and crazy numbers/quotas and stress and anger and fear. It’s a whole smorgasbord of crazy issues, er, opportunities. And when you listen to Joe in this manner, (with the intent of hearing him) you give him a chance to exhale – which is good, provided he hasn’t had any garlic recently.
But you’ll have to set aside your own grievances, agenda and, dare I say, even your ego. And when you do that, Joe will be much more likely to listen to you.
That’s just the way it works
Categories: Selling more