Are You Talking Too Much? 5 Ways To Actively Listen To Your Clients

Posted by Sarah Clark on July 14, 2016

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Oftentimes in business settings, and even at personal gatherings, people are so focused on what they want to say they fail to actively listen. Not listening – and even worse, not comprehending what is being said – is a sure­fire way to ruin an experience and miss an opportunity to connect the person standing right in front of you. A client could leave the conversation feeling like they weren’t heard and the agency could have missed an opportunity to offer the right kind of support and service. That’s not good for anyone.

Active listening skills can elevate a good counselor to a great communications counselor. {Click to Tweet this!}

When you are able to quickly pin­point a customer’s needs and desires, match those with the best solution, and then guide them through delivering the solution, that is when you truly become a trusted advisor.

If this is a status you’d like to achieve with your relationships, it’s important to focus on listening for information. A lot of times in conversations with clients, we listen to information. In other words, we only hear their words. However, when you listen for information, you are looking under the words to explore the implied meaning behind them.

Here are five things to listen for:

  1. Listen for what is missing. What are they not saying that could be valuable to know?
  1. Listen for concerns the client may have or what is important to them. Can you identify key feelings? Can you also restate what is being said to ensure you understand clearly?
  1. Listen for what they value. If a client starts opening up about something important to them and their business, don’t spend your time planning on what to say next or being so tied to your notes or agenda that you miss something critical. You can’t rehearse and listen at the same time.
  1. Listen for cues to shift the conversation. When you’re engaged in active listening, it’s easier to pickup when the conversation is going a different direction. Allow it to go there. The ability to quickly shift our thoughts and ideas in a way that shows we’re listening is key.
  1. Listen for what they want and need in order to fill in the gap between what they have now and what they want. When you’re a good listener, you’re able offer up sound advice to address what they’ve said. At that point, you’ve become an invaluable partner – and friend.

 

The main takeaway is to understand that listening is a learned and practiced skill that will open up new opportunities that we may have never noticed. Each conversation is a golden time to soak up valuable information and offer solutions that are laser-focused.

Topics: Leadership, Communication Strategy