What’s the most important skill you can have as a business owner? Now, you might say “sales.”
You’re close; while selling skills are important, they’re not as important as this one skill.
Give up? It’s listening.
“What?” you may say (no pun intended). Listening is essential for building relationships with your customers; it’s a part of communication that is important for making sales as well as growing our business and networks.
Did you hear that?
Although we can hear, most of us simply don’t listen. You’ve likely exclaimed the phrase “You’re not listening” or asked “Are you listening?” at some point in your life, whether you’re speaking with a parent, a friend, your kids and, more than likely, your husband.
How frustrating is it when you feel the other person you’re speaking with is distracted or otherwise not paying attention to the amazing things you have to say?
Humans are social creatures; we live to be understood.
You may say “I’m a GREAT listener,” but chances are there have been times when you may not have given another person your undivided attention.
Listening is more than hearing them; it involves acknowledging their tone of voice, their word choice and when you’re speaking with them in person, body language.
Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self.
It’s being fully present and resisting the urge to butt-in with your response. Listen to understand, not just to reply!
- Give the person your undivided attention. Look at them if you’re face-to-face or if you’re on the phone, don’t scroll through social media, shop or scan headlines.
- Don’t interrupt. Most of us spend the conversation thinking of our response instead of truly listening. Then, we’re quick to interrupt with our response instead of letting the other person finish. Even if you’re just bursting to give your two cents, wait your turn.
- Show interest. If you agree with them, nod or ask questions to learn more or clarify. Just don’t turn into a bobblehead–that may be a bit weird.
- Ask open-ended questions. This allows you to learn more about the other person and, of course, listen for a way you can serve.
- Follow up. It’s a sign of respect, not to mention good manners, to follow up after your conversation. Say “hello” and ask how they’ve been doing since you spoke. Always be encouraging–you want to brighten their days!
After connecting with one of your relationships, be sure to log any new information you learn into their Teamzy profile.