Effective Listening = Profitable Customer Relationships
Nevertheless, today I’m here to tell you listening is a magic key to success. And it has everything to do with cultivating customer relationships.
Les Giblin has a great chapter on listening in How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People. He outlines why it’s magic and how to do it better.
Listening makes you clever.
You’re more likely to be thought intelligent when you are quiet and listen well than when you talk all the time. Others believe that what they are saying is important, and when you listen to them, you prove to them that you’re smart enough to know it’s valuable. But it’s not just an appearance of cleverness – when you listen you actually learn things that enable you to make wiser decisions. For instance. . .
If you listen long enough, people will tell you what they want and need.
You will of course collect that information in your CRM database. And based on that knowledge, you can decide if they are likely prospective customers for your goods or services, and if so which of your solutions will meet those wants and needs.
Listening is a position of power. It might sound counter intuitive, but it’s true. When you talk, eventually you show your hand, and you don’t want to do that prematurely. Let them go first.
Listening makes you less self-conscious.
When you’re self-conscious in a conversation, whether you’re networking or selling, it’s like dancing and having your mind on where to place each foot for each beat instead of listening to the music. You’re bound to stumble. As Les Giblin said in his classic, How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People, “Listen to the other [person’s] music.” Your response will be more natural and usually more useful.
In short, listening can make you rich – in friends, happiness, knowledge, and even money.
Six Practices of Effective Listening
Look at the person speaking. Look like you’re listening. Make eye contact. Nod your head if you agree. Respond with your body language.
If you’re on the phone, don’t multi-task. Jotting down notes on your conversation is fine – in fact, it’s smart. Checking your email or texting someone else is not. The person talking will be able to tell you’re not paying attention. Really.
Don’t interrupt. Ask them to tell you more. Probe.
Stick to the speaker’s subject. You might have another agenda, but no matter how badly you want to get into it, wait.
- Echo bits of the speaker's words in your own response. "As you pointed out...." You won't ever be in total agreement but this demonstrates that you heard them and emphasizes connecting points.