As network marketing professionals and business owners, we have a tendency to want to tell everyone about what we do, why our products are so great and how we can help people. Of course, this is absolutely necessary if you want to be successful in this field, but there’s another skill that is just as necessary: the ability to listen.
The Perks of Listening
Listening to your market, clients, potential customers and team members is vital to your success. When you listen to these people, you will learn what you need to do to meet their needs and to gain their trust. As you do this, you will be able to form better strategies and gain insights that will give you new direction.
Understanding what your market needs and whether or not you are satisfying your clients will help you find ways to make your business more successful. Making sales is all about meeting needs, and you can’t know what those are until you start listening.
Listening to your team is just as important. Everyone’s ideas, contributions, expertise and experience will add to the strength of the entire team and help you all succeed.
The Habit of Listening
How do you start listening? Forming this habit is all about practice. As a business coach, I’ve found that it’s important to listen before I start pitching or contributing. Becoming a better listener is a matter of adopting some good habits.
Put the Phone Away
We all know it’s irritating when we are trying to have a conversation and the other person keeps checking her phone screen, tapping out text messages or even reading emails. Besides the fact that this will inhibit your ability to listen, it’s also just rude. Put your phone away and keep it completely out of site.
Ask Valuable Questions
In order to better understand or serve someone, you need to ask valuable questions. If possible, brainstorm a list of questions before the meeting starts.
The questions you ask should be open ended enough that they allow the person to respond, give detail and provide enough information. Try to get the conversation flowing and avoid one-word answers.
One of the most common rules of listening is “don’t interrupt.” Wait until the other person has finished her sentence before you respond or ask another question. Pauses between thoughts can also prompt people to elaborate, which can add more value to the conversation.
Don’t Make Assumptions
Making assumptions is dangerous and takes you out of listening mode into talking mode. Never assume you know the answer to things, how someone else feels or even what the best solution is.
When you go into a conversation without assuming things, you’ll be more likely to listen and soak in what others are saying.
Take Notes When Appropriate
During meetings or conference calls, take notes when you can. Don’t let your notes distract you, but use them to help you follow the conversation. This is also a great way to keep track of questions that come up during the conversation.
Interestingly, a recent study found that when we take notes by hand, instead of on a laptop, we actually learn better because it gives us the chance to frame information and organize it in a way that makes sense to us. Taking notes by hand forces us to understand and learn and resist the urge to simply transcribe conversations.
As you listen, take special note of key takeaways. Then, when the conversation is over, sum up these points as a way to confirm that everyone is on the same page. This can be a formal part of a team meeting or it can just be a quick sum-up during a casual, personal meeting.
This is your chance to make sure you heard what the other person was saying and to clarify information. It also gives everyone a chance to add any last minute details that were left out.
Listening is more than a success secret; it is a necessity if you want to form relationships that will help you grow your business. To learn more about how you can develop successful habits, contact me.