Are You Really Listening?

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Recently I re-read a short book that’s been around for a long time, by Steve Shapiro titled “Listening for Success”. 

For anyone in the network marketing profession or any business that deals with customers or clients, this book is definitely a must read, in order to grow your business.

I have been a network marketing professional for over 15 years and the advice in this book is something I always knew and practiced. It was imbedded in me early on, by my success leaders and by the corporate tools and training programs. 

Yet so many people in this business do not realize that sometimes the best thing you can do is keep quiet and listen to your prospect.  But you have to listen carefully!

There is a difference between hearing what a person says and listening to a person. 

I’m sure you have experienced it either in business conversations or in your personal life, when you can see that the person across the table is just not listening, but they act like they are. When you ask them, what did you just say? They can’t repeat it. Definitely, a sign that they are not listening!  

So what is the difference between hearing someone and listening to someone?

Let me put it into simple terms:

Hearing – means you are focused on yourself and your response, rebuttal, opinion, counter, while the person is talking.  You are thinking of your next move or comment.

Listening – means you are focused on the other person, and ready to seek more information from them using questions.  You show compassion and respect for them, not you.  You want to know what matters to them.

I think Stephen R. Covey summed it best with his statement:

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.”

We have all had discussions (or arguments) with significant others in our lives. These discussions can turn into emotional blowups if we are not careful (and many do). 

Why? Because we are not reading between the lines of what the other person is saying.  We have not understood the underlying issue that is important to the person. Instead, we focus on the surface or the superficial points.  We do not ask questions but respond with what we think is the solution.  We hear but we don’t listen.

The bottom line is we do not ask questions to get to the root of the issue.

In a network marketing business, the same thing can happen, but in a less emotional way.

Many distributors think that what they are offering, should apply to everyone because it’s such a good opportunity, the products are amazing, and me and my team, are so wonderful to work with.  So why would anyone not join me?

Well number one, it’s all about you and the opportunity, it’s not about your prospect.  You have probably followed your company’s presentation to the tee and had ‘motor mouth’ the whole time.  You probably did not ask one question of the prospect.  Consequently you have no idea why the person would be interested – you assumed that everything you are showing them, will interest them. 


“You are short on ears and long on mouth.” – John Wayne

This is what you need to do:

1.  You need to ask questions and listen to how they respond.  Whether it is about their job, their dreams, their health, or their family, you have to ask questions.

2.  You need to watch their body language, because this will tell you what matters or does not matter to them.

3.  You need to get below the surface (it may not be easy) with your questions to understand what is really important to your prospect. And understand, it may take more than one question.

4.  You need to offer a solution (your opportunity) to address their problem. In other words, offer them value.

Steve Shapiro simplifies how to master the most important skill in network marketing –


So if you are really listening, then you are interested in helping the person. You will understand what is important to them, what motivates them, what they are passionate about, and what they need. 

Only then, can you offer them a solution.  And only then, have you mastered the most important skill in network marketing – Listening!

Listen carefully to my words; let your ears take in what I say. – Job 13:17

About the author 

Deborah MacDonald

After almost 25 years as an entrepreneur, I continue to grow my business, my passive income streams and my wealth. And now I mentor others on their wealth journeys by teaching them how to fund their own freedom lifestyle.

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