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Want to Serve Your Clients Better? Listen.

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The saying goes, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” If you’re a salesperson, you may be tempted to do all the talking; how else are you supposed to sell? It’s not just those of us in sales who should improve our listening skills; in normal conversation, we tend to interrupt and think about our next point or story instead of focusing on what the other person is saying. Since we’re never taught to listen in the first place, we’ve become a society of talkers.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Steve Shapiro, the author of Listening for Success, a few years back and it had an impact on how I communicate with others and how I sell. Listening is not only the respectful thing to do; it also allows you to learn more about your clients so you can serve them better. When your clients speak with you, they have three things on their minds: 1. Can I trust you? 2. Are you good at what you do, and 3. Do you care about me? Listening allows you to answer all of these questions in a positive manner, one that builds the relationship.

What to listen for when speaking with your clients:

Listen for what is said and unsaid. While they may tell you what they want, more often than not, you’ll have to listen for clues. What’s their tone? What is left unsaid? What is their body language, if you’re speaking to them in person? What is their emotional state? These will give you insight into the true meaning of what they’re saying and the outcome they expect. In short, when you listen for the message behind the message, you’ll be able to get to the core of what they need and address that need.

Adopt an attitude of service. When you come from a place of service, listening will come naturally. You’ll adopt the right stance and approach when you communicate with your clients.

Ask questions. Steve Shapiro said, “If you’re doing most of the talking, you’re not learning anything.” When you speak with your clients, you want to learn their goals, motivations, wants and needs so you can serve them better. We teach our clients to ask questions, and then ask the next question. When you ask questions and focus on the response, you can listen for new ways to serve your clients. For example, if they mention they’re thinking of adding on to their home, take the opportunity to refer them to a contractor you trust in your network. By connecting them with someone in your network, you not only show that you’ve listened to them and pinpointed a need to fill, you also show you care, which builds your relationship with them.

Aristotle said, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you would rather have been talking.” Improve your listening skills and you’ll not only serve your clients better, improve your relationships with them and even generate more leads. Speaking of listening, have you subscribed to my podcast, It’s a Good Life? If not, be sure to sign up today.

It’s a good life!


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