True listening is one of the most powerful techniques which all of your staff should use, it can truly revolutionise and grow a business in a way never imagined.

Our biggest flaws when listening to someone is that we generally either listen to respond, or don’t listen to someone at all and already have what we want to say formulated in our head before someone speaks.

What can true listening do for me and my business?

dalai-lama-saying

True listening has the potential to do the following:

  1. Turn a complaint and an angry customer into one of your biggest advocates, not just solve a conflict or problem,
  2. It helps you to identify new potential and unexplored markets sectors and avenues of improved revenue for the business
  3. You can identify areas of improvements and increased profitability within the business
  4. It can lead to improved customer satisfaction and increased customer revenue and referrals
  5. It can help you identify new opportunities for sales and marketing and improve your message and conversion rates for better return on investment
  6. And many more…

So why don’t most people use this technique?

When you talk to someone, we generally have the following happen:

  1. We have a habit of letting our emotions get in the way of listening to the person, in cases of an angry person talking to us, we can take personal offence to what they are saying and literally switch off to listening to them.
  2. We let we let our minds wander because we are usually thinking of what we need to do next, what happened before the meeting, or conversation, etc…
  3. We all want to be heard and recognised as being important
  4. We get excited about what the person is saying and cut them off from what they are saying

If we fail to listen to someone, this can cause the issue to be escalated, switch off from the conversation and you will loose the opportunity to truly find out what they were going to say.

What is True Listening and how do I do it?

True listening is the ability to do the following:

  1. Use an open mind when listening – This helps you identify what they are truly saying and not what you think they are saying,
  2. Listen to them to the end without interrupting them – This will help you hear key points about what they are saying
  3. Analyse what they are saying – This will help you identify what the underlying issues, solutions and/or potential opportunities
  4. Use Open Questions
    1. What do you do?
    2. What does your company do?
    3. What did you do before you joined this company?
    4. How have you found this change?
    5. How is the company going?
    6. What did you do then?
    7. How would you have changed this if you had a chance?
    8. How did that make you feel?
    9. What are some of the biggest issues which you have faced?
    10. And many more…

How Will These Types of Conversations Help You?

Conflict Management Situationconflict-resolution

In the situation of conflict management, you will be able to do the following:

  1. You will understand what the underlying issues are and not what they are saying.

You may have someone angry and shouting at everyone in the work place, but it may have nothing to do with work. Sometimes, this can be pressure and stress caused at work, but many times the problems stem from issues in their personal life, be it financial, family stress, etc…

  1. Once you have identified what the issues are, then you can start talking to them about what they see as a solution to the issue and see if something needs to be done about this.

Most people just want to be heard, have their grievances recognised and not spoken over the top of. In the case that recompense or mediation needs to be done.

  1. You can identify what is negotiable, why other points aren’t negotiable and come to a resolution quickly.

Once you find out what they expect, then negotiation can start and the conflict quickly dissipates as you are only talking about what both parties can accept as a solution to the conflict, not the actual conflict itself.

This is simple conflict management 101.

Sales Situationstumblr_nyjt6xkdqs1qgrualo1_1280

In a Sales situation, you will be able to do the following:

  1. You will understand what the clients really want vs what they need

Many people mistake the difference between the 2 of these and the client may have been told what they want from another sales person who has tailored their requirements to meet their product and/or service.

  1. You will understand what they have budgeted for their needs and/or wants

This will give you an advantage as it will help you gain a win win for both you which will impress the person and may be less than your competitors because they are trying to sell them a solution will all the bells and whistles for a lot more, when the client isn’t happy with this idea.

  1. You will gain valuable information about the deal and what your competition is offering

You potential client will tell you the advantages of your competitor’s product/service as well as the disadvantages and what you will need to do to beat their offering.

  1. You will gain a stronger relationship with the potential client

Your potential client will realise that you are actually listening to their needs and not trying to tell them what they need. This is gains a lot of confidence and credibility in you and your business.

  1. You will gain valuable information to give your company a leading edge

You will know what your competitors are doing and what else your client’s needs are to help evolve your products/services and keep them ahead of the field. You may even uncover some some niches in the market place which haven’t been explored and what your clients would be willing to pay for these products/services.

Networking Situationsspeak-to-others-in-such-a-way-that-others-love-to-listen-to-you-listen-in-such-a-way-that-others-love-to-speak-to-you-quote-1

In a Networking situation, you will be able to do the following:

  1. You will understand the potential of the person you are talking to.

This will help you identify if you are talking to a potential client (sales pitch), a sales partner or someone who knows a direct or indirect potential client (ability to sell through them), or you may be able to identify a potential synergy or joint venture opportunity.

  1. You will gain a stronger relationship with the potential client

Your potential client will realise that you are actually listening to what they are saying and are generally interested in what they have to say, this is gains a lot of confidence and credibility in you and your business.

  1. If you combine the listening with a willingness to help them, your status in the group and people wanting to talk to you can increase significantly.