Why This Question Is Important
By Paul E. Casey
The ability to take the time to listen and actually absorb what is going on is a skill that is severely lacking today. I sometimes refer to this skill as the ability to “read a room.”
With 24-hour cable stations, blogging, tweeting, emailing, facebooking, texting, etc. there is little time left to just listen.
If you don’t get your point across in 15 seconds or less, the eyes of the person you are talking to will often begin to glaze over. (Maybe it’s that I just need to shorten and spice up my stories. That’s possible too.)
You can pick up valuable information on what a potential client or customer is looking for if you just listen to what they are telling you.
Many times a small business owner (myself included) will go into a client meeting with a preconceived notion of what we think the client needs - and that, of course, is our product or service. After all, we've created this wonderful product or service that they just can’t live without.
I became better at making sales when I learned to use my first meeting with a potential client as an opportunity for them to tell me everything about their business. I've developed the mindset that, in my first meeting with a client, I am a reporter covering a story. I let the potential client talk, while I listen to them and write down as much information as I can. At the end of the meeting, I take a few minutes to summarize their major points.
I don't try to sell them anything during our first encounter unless it's obvious that they need my service. Otherwise, I take what I've learned from the client during our first meeting, and get back to them in day or two with a well-thought out proposal. This demonstrates to my client that I am carefully considering their needs and how to meet them.
Bottom Line: Being a good listener is one of the most important ingredient for becoming a successful business owner. You can pick up valuable information on what a potential client or customer is looking for if you just take time to listen to what they are telling you.
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I became better in sales when I would use my first meeting with a potential client as an opportunity for him/her to tell me everything about their business. I developed the mindset that I am a reporter covering a story.