Listen to This
“It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes
A very large part of being a good persuader is being a good listener. Being a good listener is something that some people are naturally good at, some people, not so good (and still others, quite poor). So if you are eager at becoming a good persuader, sharpening your listening skills is absolutely mandatory.
Listening is not formulating your answers or arguments while someone else is talking. Listening involves both verbal and non-verbal communication (such as eye contact, sometimes head nodding or smiling). Listening is remembering and empathizing. Listening is speaking back to the person, in your own words, what they just conveyed to you. And being a good listener requires your participation in terms of asking pertinent follow up questions.
An example of the wisdom to listen is when we elicit criteria from our prospects and clients. When we ask the magic question, ‘what will having X do for you?’ we are preparing ourselves to listen. We need to know what having X will do for them because we want to give them X. If we’re daydreaming or off in our thoughts pondering what we want from this person then we’ll never truly understand how our product or service equals their X.
When we get their criteria, it’s mandatory we paraphrase what they have conveyed. ‘So what you’re saying is. . . ‘ ‘In other words, you’re looking to have . . .’ or ‘It sounds to me as if you are looking for . . .’ These are all excellent ways to show our prospects and clients that we are very interested in what they have just revealed and getting even more information from them for persuasion purposes.
Taking this a step further, if your prospect replies to you with auditory, kinesthetic or visual words, you can ask your follow up questions with those words as well. ‘I see that having a new financial advisor will brighten your future and give you a greater vision of the life you’ve always pictured.’ (FYI, that was a visual orientation. . . )
Silence is a powerful tool to use as well. Many people are quite uncomfortable with silence and will continue to talk to fill that up. This works to our advantage because the more we know about our prospect’s wants and needs, the better we will be able to fulfill them with our products and services (if, that in fact, is the case).
Another very important aspect of listening is knowing how to respond with empathy. We all have wildly different experiences in life and sometimes it’s hard to know how to relate to other people, but keep in mind, that despite our differences, we are all fundamentally driven by the same things. . . the core drives. We’ve all experienced loss, joy, frustration, enthusiasm. . . and on some level, we can connect with another’s experience.
Listening is something that you can learn through practice and persistence.
Until Next Time,
Kenrick E. Cleveland