When you are dealing with a new prospect or client, do you listen and then hear what they are saying to you?  Listening and hearing are two different components of one thing.   You must do both in the manner they are meant to be used.

Recently, my brother and I had a meeting with a service company that our parents had hired. We were there to finalize services made previously by them and get ready for future services. The meeting began with trying to close out the old business, but a problem arose.  Every time my brother spoke about four words, the service person started speaking over him.  He was assuming he knew what my brother was going to say.  After this went on for several sentences, I spoke to try to clarify the situation. That resulted in the same interruptions.  This led to some statements made by the service person that were of great insult to both of us, and he repeated himself.  I am normally an even-tempered person, his insults and constant interruptions were not allowing my brother and me to conduct the business that we came to finalize. The only way to resolve this situation was getting angry and letting him know that he was not listening or hearing what we were saying, and now it was time for him to stop and listen so he could hear us.  Guess what, about half way through that comment he started to interrupt me yet again!  I looked directly at him and said, “no, I am speaking now and you are listening.”  He stopped speaking and started listening and then he HEARD what we were trying to tell him.  It should not have come to that!  In the beginning, as we were the clients, he should have listened, processed what we were saying and then he would have heard us.  The whole meeting would have gone much smoother.  Had our parents not hired this person, we might have taken our business elsewhere all because he wouldn’t listen.

How are you with your clients?  Are you a good listener?  Do you stop and really hear what they are saying or do you listen to a few words and then start speaking over them?  When you have a client or prospect in front of you or on the phone, that person wants to feel like they are your biggest priority and making them feel that way is an art.  It takes time and practice to develop this ability, but it is an art that will help your business grow.  Brian Arlinghaus of Arlinghaus Heating & Air Conditioning, and a Referral Institute student, is a person who does this better than anyone I know.  When you are in a conversation with him, he gives you direct eye contact; he makes head gestures to make you feel he is both listening and hearing, and most importantly he responds accordingly to what was said.  In those moments Brian has the talent of making you feel like you are the most important person in the world, there is no one else.  I am sure this is one of the reasons why he is so successful in business.

Being aware of the type of listener you are, is step one.  Personally, I was the person that was thinking about what I was going to say and not listening to everything that was being said to me.  As a result, I wasn’t hearing the other person.  Through years of training myself, I now stop, look the person in the eye and listen to what they are saying.  I have become a much better listener, which allows me then to hear. The results are amazing.    I now have stronger relationships with my clients, prospects and even family and friends.

Do you want to grow your business?  Start listening and respond accordingly to your prospects and clients. Show them they were heard and you will see both your relationships and your business grow.  Simple things like this will make all the difference between a good year and a GREAT year.

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