When you meet with clients and prospects are you REALLY listening?

Stephen R. Covey famously wrote, “we don’t listen to hear, we listen to respond.” He nailed it on the head. Think about your most recent client meeting – did you listen with your own agenda in mind or did you hear what your client was saying?

Forbes Business Council recently published an article on the topic, “The Art of Listening in Business,” discussing listening as caring as a way to improve your listening and communication skills.

Recognizing that a “skilled and artful listener builds trust and credibility,” they shared 3 key ways to improve your listening skills.

  1. Focus on the person speaking. Give them your complete attention and listen to what they are saying – and what they’re not. “Listen between the lines.” Ask questions to clarify what they’re saying vs parroting the words they spoke.
  2. Incorporate empathy. Realize there is emotion and meaning behind what a client or prospect may be saying. Helping them to feel valued and heard will help build trust and a stronger relationship.
  3. Be adaptable. Recognize that your goal should be to meet the needs of the client versus any need of your own. While you may have a particular product or strategy you think might be the best choice in the moment, if the client doesn’t believe it’s meeting their needs they won’t feel heard. Work together to find a solution they’re comfortable with.

Utilizing these tools in your next sales meeting. Listening well might help you make the sale, and it will also help you improve existing relationships.  

Looking for more communication tips?  Check out our e-book, Beyond Words: The Unspoken Word.