Why are you Listening?

How you can increase sales by talking less and L I S T E N I N G more!

Have you ever been in a conversation where you sense the person you are talking to isn't really listening to you? How does it make you feel about yourself? How does it make you feel about the other person?

Do you feel like the other person doesn't value what you have to say?  When you sense they don't really care about your points of view does it makes it difficult for you to listen to what they have to say?

Is there a way to avoid being "that person", the one who is perceived as not really listening? The answer is, Yes!

Start by identifying your listening strengths and challenges. Consider these three important metrics:

    • Are you hearing the messages being sent to you?
    • Do you understand the meaning of the messages?
    • Are you correctly evaluating attitudes and responding appropriately?

It's also helpful to be aware of the types of conversations you participate in during the course of your day so you can listen in the context of the conversation. For example:

    • Are you talking to the other person to entertain them or to be entertained by sharing stories or jokes with one another?
    • Is the purpose of your conversation to establish rapport with someone for the first time?
    • Is there an emotionally charged issue that your or the other person needs to discuss?
    • Is there is a need to exchange pertinent personal information so you can qualify a prospect?
    • Do you need to ethically persuade another person to take appropriate actions, they otherwise would not have taken on their own, so they achieve an outcome that's important to them?

Whenever you are in a conversation where the outcome is important, try using SCOPE Listening Skills™ to listen, understand and respond in a way that helps the other person know that you have heard and understood what's important to them.

S - Situation – A person's situation can best be understood in the context of the three stories that everyone has. The story of their:

    • Past
    • Present
    • Future

C – Concerns and Consequences – Whenever you hear and understand your prospect's or client's concerns... and their understanding of the consequences of implementing a specific strategy or product purchase... you position yourself to save time and build trust with the person because you can concentrate on providing only the additional information necessary to help them make informed decisions.

O – Opinions and Obstacles - Are you listening for your prospect's and client's opinions regarding the topic(s) under discussion before offering your opinions? When their opinion(s)differ with yours are you trying to understand the reasons for their opinion? When you need to change a misguided opinion do you know how to do this in a way that makes them feel good about it?

Obstacles come in two varieties – Real and Imagined. For example, a real obstacle to someone buying Long-term Care would be dementia. On the other hand, coming up with the money needed to pay the premium is often an imagined obstacle. Do you become aware of obstacles early enough in your sales process to prevent them from stalling your advice or sales efforts?

P – Priorities and Personal Agenda – Determined human beings operate with a hierarchy of needs at a macro level. At the micro level, understanding priorities makes it easier to recommend solutions at the right time. Knowing the personal agenda of the decision maker(s) helps you make recommendations in the context of outcomes that are important to the particular decision maker.

E – Expectations – Regarding your Relationship & Your Process – A number of years ago Steven Covey wrote, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He advised we should, "begin with the end in mind". Invaluable advise because it helps advisors or consultative sales persons to understand expectations and confirm agreement regarding their professional relationship with each prospect or client and the process that will be followed to help them achieve the outcomes they want.

The SCOPE Listening Skills™ approach is useful whenever you are forming important relationships or trying to develop single sales opportunities with prospects or clients.

Why are you listening? You are in the business of ethically persuading others to take appropriate action so they achieve outcomes that are important to them. I'm confident you also have friends and loved ones who count on you to listen to them too.

If you agree that how well you listen directly impacts your relationships and results, you should consider doing one or more of these activities: