It’s a fact. Some people would rather talk than listen. Perhaps you know individuals like this. They seem to thrive on the sound of their own voice. Yet, when one person does all (or most of the) talking, it is less of a conversation and more of a monologue. This limits the opportunity to learn, share ideas and discover new perspectives.
Think about your own communication style. Do you talk or listen more? Effective communicators understand that interacting with others requires a balance of listening to someone else’s point of view as well as sharing their own ideas.
Your prospects and customers represent a goldmine of business opportunities if you can get them talking and if you listen carefully to their responses. By asking questions, you can discover what’s on their minds. What are their pain points, priorities and interests? If you’re too busy talking, you will never learn what you can do to help others solve challenges and achieve their goals.
Once you get people to open up and start talking, stay focused on the speaker. Be attentive and keep an open mind. Don’t interrupt. Ask more probing questions. Provide feedback and recap what the other person says to show that you understand and empathize with their situation. If you follow these suggestions, you will be able to make better decisions based on deeper information. This will separate you from the crowd and connect you with your customers and prospects in a more meaningful way.
Live conversations, however, are not the only way to listen and collect valuable information. Here are four tips you can use to get to know your customers and prospects better:
- Monitor what prospects and customers are saying on social media.
- Visit their websites to track their latest news, announcements, awards and other key events.
- See what the business analysts are saying.
- Use email and blog marketing to ask questions and collect information.
In addition, it’s helpful to have a good CRM system or other tool for collecting data about customer and prospect preferences, history, opinions and records of conversations. If you take advantage of this method, people will be amazed at your memory and your interest in them, and you will develop a reputation as an excellent listener. And what a compliment and accomplishment that is!
So what can you do to listen more?