Can you name the four best listeners you know?
Almost every time I ask this question people find it difficult to answer. Rarely can they name more than two.
Pretty scary, isn’t it?
In reality, many people are better listeners than they appear to be—it just isn’t always natural for our faces and bodies to reflect our level of concentration.
Often, when people talk, the other party is sitting or waiting there with a response ready.
This could be making you lose business and relationships that could make your business profitable and enjoyable.
Here are some best practices to show clients or anyone that you’re present and listening:
Playing back your understanding of what the client said clearly demonstrates that you are following the conversation.
You can utilise this at various points in the sales process, from the initial phone call all the way through the close.
People Will appreciate that you did listen and will be obligated to reciprocate.
Ask related follow-up questions.
Asking a follow-up question related to the information the client just gave you shows that you’re listening, processing, and want to learn more:
“I can definitely see how your current provider’s website response issues are getting frustrating and delaying your schedule. What would your ideal delivery timeline look like?”
Repeating a word or phrase the client just said in an interested, questioning tone is a great way to show you’re listening while encouraging them to expand on a concept:
Client: The SEO package you proposed feels spotty, especially under the terms of the monthly backlinks and social media posts…
Client: Well, the number of the links and posts per month feels less comprehensive than we expected…
Now not only do you understand what they want and need, it feels like you speak the same language.
The need to interrupt often comes from a good place.
Maybe something the client says sparks an amazing idea in your head.
The natural instinct would be to offer up the idea immediately. But in doing so you prevent the client from finishing their thought and communicate to them that you are not fully listening.
Try writing down any sudden ideas that come to you while the client finishes talking.
You’ll have time to bring them up later.
Control your nonverbal cues.
Though we all recognise body language that signifies listening (maintaining eye contact, leaning forward, nodding the head, etc.), many of us inadvertently give off non-verbal cues that convey the opposite.
Poor eye contact, fidgeting, crossing your arms, or looking at your watch may all be perceived by the client as a lack of interest.
Simply being aware of your body language will keep you from sending mixed messages.
Lastly, Take notes.
There’s no overstating the importance of taking notes.
Not only does it show the client you’re listening, it ensures that you stay focused.
Don’t forget that when you don’t take notes, it is often perceived as a lack of interest.
These techniques have proven successful with our team at Livelong Digital.
What are yours?
Share your thoughts in a comment below.