Saturday, 4 September 2010

Love Your Customer, Grow Your Business

"Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another, which both attract's and heals." - J Isham

Do you remember the first date you went on with a loved one? Isn’t it true that you probably listened more intently to them on that day than you have since? There was magic created as you both switched off from the outside world and engaged in meaningful dialogue where you both felt good. This happened for two reasons. Firstly, you wanted to impress, and secondly you were genuinely interested. When we are listened to, our minds open like a parachute, and we communicate more freely. When we gaze into a listener's eyes we feel refreshed because we know they care.
Everybody wants to be loved and listening attentively without any motives is a sincere form of love. The listener is silently saying "I respect you, and I am interested in what you are saying." If the opposite occurs you have words crossing each other or subject changes within every minute.
Have you ever spoken to somebody, and you saw in their eyes that they could not wait to butt in and either offer their opinion or talk about themselves?

Did you notice their head nodding quickly and their eyes urging you to finish? Did you speed up your thought process and delivery only to be cut off in a mid sentence anyway? How did that make you feel? Did you feel like there was no real communication? Did you feel that it was just an exchange of words?

Now think about this? Do you act like that when you talk to a customer? Are you so excited by what you offer that you cannot control your urge to tell them all you know?
This is what your customer thinks when you don’t listen. “He might as well have told me all he knew in an email or a brochure. I didn’t feel a connection with him and would find it hard to do business”. The stress of the sale and the desire to assert expertise must not destroy your listening skills if you want to develop a relationship of trust and respect.

Is the art of listening easy? No, it’s not. It takes energy, motivation and concentration, but it is your best communication tool. The biggest barriers between two people are their inability to listen intelligently, understandingly and skilfully.
So what makes a good listener? A good listener is careful not to judge but understands the ability of us all to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. A good listener will not generalise, distort or delete any information received but will use it to ask a clarifying question when the opportunity arrives. A good listener does not wander in thought but strives to understand everything in full. Listening with a good intention makes a customer feel special so isn’t worth doing it properly.

Taken from the forthcoming book "Love Your Customer, Grow Your Business" by Darren Kelly.

Darren Kelly
The Communication Experts