Are you listening for success? That might sound like a strange question, but I assure you, listening, in the right way, is a key to your success. Although these three steps work well in a normal everyday conversation, they can make a big difference in your business results when speaking with a prospect who may become a potential customer or business partner. Bottom line – if you improve your listening skills, you will improve your business. They say “the money is in the follow up” which may be true, but many distributors, because of poor listening techniques, or not listening at all, sabotage their recruiting efforts, and leave themselves with no one to follow up with. Has this happened to you? Is it still happening?
Good listening habits certainly take practice, and it doesn’t happen overnight. But the effort you put into developing skills for effectively listening to others can pay big dividends. Keep the focus of the conversation on the other person. If you are only concerned about “making the sale” or “closing the deal”, then you’ve got the focus on the wrong person. And you’ll consider any conversation that doesn’t result in a new customer or business partner for you, as a failure.
I recently read a book by Michael Oliver, entitled “How to Sell Network Marketing without Fear, Anxiety, or Losing Your Friends!” In it, I came across this quote, “let go of the outcome, and your income will increase.” Makes sense really. By keeping the focus on the other person through listening effectively, and asking good questions, the people you talk to, will respect you, and (if and when the situation and time is right for them), will be more inclined to listen to what you have to say, especially if they feel you can provide a solution to make life better for them in some way.
So, what are these three power listening steps that you can take to improve your chances of success?
1. Listen intently. The first of the three steps contains a double meaning for the word “intently”. It means not only the obvious skill of concentrating your full attention when someone else is speaking, but it also means listening with the “intent” to understand the other person’s situation. Only by learning and realizing what their current reality is, can you both come to a logical conclusion of whether or not, they’re looking for a solution to a problem, and/or whether you will be the one to provide that solution for them.
2. Listen fully. The second of the three steps for effective listening involves disciplining yourself to tune out all distractions as you focus on just what the other person is saying. Distractions can be noise, sounds, even other conversations going on around you. But it can also be your own “selective” listening. What do I mean by selective listening? If you find yourself waiting to hear the other person say a key word, phrase, etc, just as a green light for you to launch into your “presentation”, then you’re guilty of practicing selective listening. One of the main pitfalls of many distributors is delivering the presentation too early in the conversation.
3. Listen openly. The last of the power steps to help you become a better listener means to keep a totally open mind when you are talking with a prospect or potential customer for your business. No preconceived notions allowed here. If you’re asking pointed questions designed only to get an answer you want to hear, without regard for what might be best for them, you’re jeopardizing your chance for long term success. Again, do not allow yourself to get off track. Are you listening to what they mean, or just what they say? To be an effective listener, you must keep the focus on them throughout the whole dialogue. After all, in the end, it doesn’t matter to them what you want out of the conversation.
The total business conversation is a balance of listening and presenting. Keep these three power steps in mind, and work on becoming a great listener, and chances are you won’t have to worry so much about being a great presenter.