“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I don’t know who to attribute that saying to, but I have heard it for years, related to personal interactions as well as in business. There are other businesses where it’s more obvious that purchase decisions are made on emotions such as when you buy a car or a house. You’ll hear “it felt like home” when I stepped in or “it felt like me.” Once, right after my wife picked up a new car, a man at the shopping center remarked, “Girl, you know you look good in that car.” She still talks about that.
Emotions play a part in financial services and business consulting as well. Would I want to share such personal information with someone I don’t like or trust? That’s why when someone comes to our office to talk about their money or their business, we spend most of the first meeting just getting to know them. What are their hopes about the future? What are their fears? What are the stumbling blocks or obstacles in their way? The biggest favor we can provide is to really listen to what they want to have happen in the future.
If you are in a sales role, you are probably an outgoing extroverted type. You may not know what to do with silence. I would encourage you to toss out an open-ended question and just wait. There may be an awkward gap but it could be you’re visiting with someone who is thoughtful about their responses and are still formulating. If you are meeting with a couple or two business partners, maybe they are framing their reply carefully to be honest and open with you, while not stepping on other’s toes.
Listen for the tone of their response. Were they quick to reply yes or no? Did they hesitate when you asked them how they felt about the meeting? I often ask people to rate the meeting on a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest so I can get a feel for their perspective. I almost always think it went great!)lf we have covered a lot of new content, I like to ask what were the 3 most important things they heard. That tells me what was important for them and whether I accomplished what they wanted to have happen.
One way I try to get to the bottom of a perceived objection is to ask, “Is there anything else?” Often, the first objection is not really the true issue. Again, I wait. Sometimes, if I have another person with me on the sales call, I find myself kicking them under the table as they want to jump in to clarify and fill the silence with words. Just be patient and you’ll hear what’s needed to fully meet their desires for your product or service.
Along with improving your listening skills, you should watch them. It’s so easy to start typing into your phone or tablet to capture notes of the meeting but you can miss a lot. The side-glance of the eyes between husband and wife when you hit a sore point about their spending habits. Or, the looks between partners when they are eager to move forward but don’t want to let on just yet.
So, what are your take aways from reading this blog? Where can you apply two or three salient points to your listening? Will your spouse, or significant other, be happier if you listen more actively? What about your business partner? Communicating clearly and listening take concentration. Multi-tasking is an insulting way to say to the speaker, what you are saying is less important than what is in my phone. Avoid that embarrassment…LISTEN!
Securities and investment advisory services offered through World Equity Group, Inc. member FINRA and SIPC. SMART Group Houston and Ron Schutz-Pianning Business Transitions, LLC, are not owned or controlled by World Equity Group, Inc. World Equity Group, Inc., does not provide tax advice
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