Listening For Success!
There are many people in life that are looking for success. yet success is not often something that you find, but it can be something you listen for!
Some people in the cleaning business are amazed that, in an industry with a 40% client turnover rate, we keep our clients year after year; 10, 12, 15 years and more. Many people ask what the secret is, thinking that we must have some gimmick that causes such a high rate of customer retention.
We DO have a secret, one that costs us no more than a few minutes of time; we listen to our prospects and our customers. You see, the world is full of noise, much of it demanding our attention; how often do you find someone that wants to listen to you?
Our clients are no different. They have needs and concerns, and they want someone to care about those things. Early in our business startup, we made a point of making regular visits to each of our clients. It wasn't easy to do, we would have rather spent the time doing other things to 'grow' the business; but we learned rather quickly that it takes much less effort to keep a current client than to go out and recruit another.
Let me share with you just a few tips to enable you to become a really good listener:
1. Focus on the speaker - as if nothing in the world is more important to you than what that individual is saying. Give them your complete attention, it will be recognized and appreciated.
2. Wait before replying - allow a short silence to occur before you respond. Three great things happen when you do this:
a. You keep from interrupting the other person if they are not finished speaking, but are merely pausing to organize their thoughts before continuing.
b. You let the individual know that what they said was important and that you are taking time to consider it.
c. A short pause allows you to consider what the individual said and what they meant.
3. Clarify if necessary - language is a strange thing. Don't assume you know exactly what an individual meant what they said something. Don't be afraid to ask, "So what you're really saying is.......?"
4. Feed it back - rephrase what the individual said. That lets them know that you really are paying attention. When they are done, allow a moment and say something like, "I understand that you really would like five nights a week service, but the corporate office doesn't believe you need more than three, correct?"
Dave Ramsey, in his book EntreLeadership, says we all tend to trust people and connect with people who understand how we tick. People with relational intelligence attempt to learn how other people process information and make decisions. To do that, you have to Listen.
These are very simple but surefire ways for building rapport with anyone and can pay big dividends in a business relationship!