Following on from our last blog post about making sales – one of the key takeaways was to communicate with your prospect.

 

Effective communication is made up of three different variables:

 

VERBAL cues (the words we use)

VOCAL cues (our tone of voice and intonation)

VISUAL cues (our body language, the nonverbal component)

 

But, what percentage of the message does each of these variables account for?

 

VERBAL = 7%

VOCAL = 33%

VISUAL = 60%

 

Most people believe they are far better communicators than they actually are. And one of the major downfalls of bad communicators is that they’re not listening.

Poor listening is the biggest barrier to effective communication. Let’s look at the best practice for listening…

 

First of all –  how do you know if you’re really listening?

 

We’ve all had someone in our lives tell us that we aren’t listening, we’re only hearing. And that often can be the case. We want you to really listen to your prospect, like really, REALLY listen.

 

Most people have never evaluated their own listening skills. We think it should come naturally to us all – but the truth is, it doesn’t.

 

So, let’s start evaluating!

 

Start by recording a conversation you have with someone. Check to see if you did any of the below list (and if you did, did you do it frequently?):

 

-Interrupt?

-Showed impatience at all?

-Finished their sentence?

-Suggest solutions before the problem was fully explained?

-Misinterpret what was said?

-Did you show disinterest during the call with your body language? (Leaning back, slouching, yawning, daydreaming?)

-Did you talk more than they did?

-Spend time thinking about what you would say next?

 

Chances are, you did at least one of these things. And if not, congratulations! Maybe you’re already a great listener. But there’s no reason you can’t get even better.

When we think of communicating, we tend to picture ourselves talking. We often think that if we

speak more clearly, more slowly, or simply louder, people will understand us better.

Good communication is so much more. Listening accounts for about 75% of communication

effectiveness.

 

Here are some of our best practice for listening tips:

 

  1. Stop talking – you can’t listen while you are talking.

 

  1. Empathize – put yourself in the other person’s place.

 

  1. Be curious – make it your business to find out what the other person is saying, meaning, and feeling.

 

  1. Don’t pretend – make understanding your goal in the conversation. Your job is not to discover how likable the person is, or whether they’re right or wrong, but to understand them.

 

  1. Ask questions – those that elicit clarity. Who? Where? When? How? (But be careful not to come across like a prosecuting attorney while they are interrogating someone.)

 

  1. Be aware – Avoid questions that will embarrass someone, you want to understand them, not judge them

 

  1. Eye contact – Look at the other person! And if you’re on the phone, be present! Act as if they’re really there with you and put your best foot forward.

 

  1. Communicate – Provide some ongoing, appropriate feedback while listening, verbal and non-verbal. A nod, a smile, and acknowledging words.

 

  1. Repetition – Check out you’re understanding by repeating back the main points as you’ve heard them. “So are you saying that….”

 

  1. Be open – Avoid making assumptions without checking out their validity.

 

Start actively working on your listening skills! Implement these tips and you should see a difference. Once you start listening, you really do start receiving.

 

Do you want to see us put our best practice listening skills to the test? Give us a call and contact us today!