It sounds obvious, if you want people to listen to you, it is best to show some interest in what they say too. Although these are basic people skills, in reality it is easier said than done.
Most of the time, we don’t listen actively when someone is speaking to us.
We think about something else or what we are going to say next and keep having a conversation with ourselves instead.
Boredom is having to listen to someone talk about himself when I want to talk about me. — Tom Paciorek
Market research is all about listening
Effective listening skills are key to understanding what people want. It’s tempting to start talking about the fantastic services your offer and forget about listening to what others say in your niche market. A bit of market research will help to find out what your potential customers and competitors talk about. What is the buzz about? What are the trendy/controversial topics or issues faced by your customers or potential employers?
Focus on customer needs by using questions to find out more about them. Use open questions starting with ‘what’, ‘when’, or ‘why’ for example. One way to find out online is to use social media by subcribing to blogs or follow relevant people or groups on Twitter and LinkedIn. Offline, there may be relevant networking events or conferences and exhibitions you could attend.
Sales is all about listening
Telesales calls are often perceived as an annoying interruption. Many potential customers have had bad experiences when high-pressure salespeople have tried to push their services without listening to what they wanted. The worse is when callers don’t record the conversation and contact their prospects again, not taking into account what had already been discussed previously.
Review your sales and marketing activities and check if you only have a one way dialogue with your audience, or whether you interact and listen to what they say and encourage feedback.
If you really listen to others first, they will be more inclined to listen to you when you want to talk about your services.
Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening. — Dorothy Sarnoff
What changes could we make to become better listeners? Let’s discuss.
Photo credit: Freddy the Boy
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