Do you have trouble focusing on what your client (or potential client) is saying? Do you feel like it is obvious to them that you are unengaged? Does your self-consciousness make you feel or seem disconnected with the conversation? Is all you are thinking about what THEY ARE THINKING ABOUT YOU?? Try these handy little tricks to put yourself back into control of the conversation:
- Make and keep eye contact- I had to put a “DUH!” in here somewhere. The eyes communicate connection to the other party more than any other physical attribute.
- Ask open-ended questions- Closed-ended questions are communication killers. If your client can answer in one word, they will. Good questions will clarify for you what your client’s actual needs are. Make THEM talk. This isn’t about you.
- Don’t overextend yourself- Don’t try to invent common ground between you and your client based on how your product/service and their needs meet somewhere in the middle. Determine their specific needs and take your solutions to solve their problems. You KNOW what you are doing. Do it for them.
- Minimize environmental distractions- Don’t have your conversation in the subway tunnel. You won’t hear them and they won’t hear you. Find a comfortable room with little interior or exterior distraction, turn your cell phone off and begin…with a smile of course. They are doing YOU a favor.
- MOST IMPORTANTLY: EMPATHIZE!!!- Even if your client is boring you silly with anecdotes and minutiae, try to find ONE THING that your life or experience has in common with the client’s issues. That is the best way to fully understand how to help solve a marketing problem. Understand it from the other’s point of view.
If you want to see a PERFECT example of these listening skills in action, drop me a line or give me a call and schedule a FREE 60 minute consultation. 😉 The sun is coming out…gotta run!!!