Too often we are just waiting for our client to finish talking so we can talk again and “sell” them.  But if we are curious about our client, ask good questions and listen well to their answers, we may be surprised at what we learn about what they need and want. It may not be what we first thought they wanted or needed at all.

Listening to others is an art. It is not a talent we are gifted with.  Good listening habits must be practiced to perfection.  Here’s why:

  • Good listeners learn more from their clients;
  • Good listeners provide better answers to questions;
  • Good listeners can take steps toward better solutions to their clients’ problems; and
  • Good listeners get confidence and earn the loyalty of their customers.

Here are the basic practices of good listening:

  • Pause after someone else speaks before speaking. They have given you food for thought. Take a moment to digest their words.
    • The first reason to give pause is because they may have more to add to their thought – maybe the most important piece of information you need to satisfy them.
    • The second reason to pause is to consider your next step.
  • Have they asked you a question? Sometimes questions don’t begin with who, what, when, why or where. Sometimes a question is just a comment, perhaps with an inflection at the end of a sentence, requiring a response. Whether the question is implied or direct, now is the time to answer.  Hopefully, you are prepared to answer, but even if the answer is “I’m not sure” or “I need a little more information before I can answer your question,” it is best to address their question, concern or comment as it is presented, not to deflect or answer a question with a question.
  • Have they given you the most vital key to earning their loyalty? You may want to file that piece of information away for later in your conversation, or you may decide now is the opportunity to prove you have the best solution for their problem.
  • Are you sure of what they have said, or truly mean by what they have said? It is okay to tell anyone you don’t understand what they have just told you and ask them to explain it further. It is especially okay in the case of a client, or a potential client.

Although “Being a Good Listener” is second on my Top 10 list of earning customer loyalty, it is just as important as the other ways to earn customer loyalty. When a client shares a problem with you, in their own words – the problem you are there to solve for them – they are giving you the opportunity to solve it and earn their loyalty. Ignore this information at your own risk.

Here are some links for you to go back and review my previous blog posts in this series:

Top 10 Ways to Earn Customer Loyalty

Be Curious!

 

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