One of the quickest and most efficient ways to grow a business is through listening. Are you taking the time to listen to what your customers want and need?
In Les Giblin’s book “How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People,” he gives the example of an automotive company who stated “We don’t really design our cars. The public does. What we do is listen. And when the public wants something we hasten to try to supply it.”
I have had many one-on-one conversations over the last 9 years since opening my first business and find that there are 4 types of individuals:
- The Talker. This is an individual who dominates the conversation. They do the majority of the talking. If you can find a break in the conversation, after getting a few words out, they break in and continue to talk.
- The One-Upper. This is the person who no matter what you have done, they have done it better. Have an experience you would like to share? They not only have that same experience, but it was so much better than yours. As you are talking, they are formulating in their minds what to say as it relates to your story and may burst before your are done.
- Mr/Mrs Boredom. Conversation can be a bit challenging with this type. They really don’t want to be there and can’t wait to get the conversation over with. When you ask them a question, you receive a 1 -2 word answer. They are not interested in anything you have to say. There are several moments of long, awkward silence during the conversation.
- The Listener. They are enthusiastic to meet with you and want to get to know you, your passion and your business. They ask questions during the conversation to get to know you or your products and services better. They look at you with enthusiasm when you speak with a smile on their face and may take notes during the conversation.
When having a conversation with someone, which of the 4 types above would you like to be sitting across from? How does this person make you feel? Think about the type of person and conversation that would make you come away with a good feeling about them and their business – and then be that person when you are in conversation with another.
In his book, “How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People,” Les Giblin’s outlines the seven ways to practice listening. The art of listening, once learned and applied effectively, is a very powerful tool in growing your business!
1. Look at the person who is talking.
2. Appear deeply interested in what he is saying.
3. Lean toward the person who is talking.
4. Ask questions.
5. Don’t interrupt; instead, ask him to tell more.
6. Stick to the speaker’s subject.
7. Use the speaker’s words to get your own point across.
Listen to what your prospects and customers really want. If you can pick up on this in a conversation and repeat it back to them, you have their attention. Follow through with a solution to their problem and genuinely show that you care and will do what it takes to solve their problem and you have a new customer!