Listen, Learn and Earn
It is too bad that most Internet Marketers don’t understand the mechanics of a human-to-human sales relationship. If they actually had to talk to their prospects and customers, rather than dwelling in a two-dimensional world, would this improve their income potential or diminish it?
Building relationships takes time and attention, no matter which way you spin things. Developing rapport and gaining an understanding of each other ought to be a mutual effort or the equity of the relationship becomes uneven. Just as an expert should not condescend to a customer who doesn’t know all the ins and outs of their area of expertise, a customer should not condescend to the expert and treat them as a servant.
It is quite satisfying when there is cooperation and mutual respect in a business relationship. In this scenario, the customer appreciates the expertise that the professional is bringing to the table and respects the fact that such expertise has a value for which they are being paid. The professional appreciates the fact that the customer has chosen to work with them, in spite of the fact that they had other choices, and values their customer through responsiveness and, most importantly, through listening to the customer’s concerns and ideas. To that end, the most important tool that any entrepreneur has at their disposal is their ability to listen.
Listening is an active skill. People who are communicating with you need to know that they have been heard so it is important to acknowledge them, whether or not you agree with what they’ve said. In addition, if you are not clear about what you’ve heard, asking questions that explore the issue in such a way that no conclusions are assumed can lead your customers to telling you much more about their needs. This has potential to grant you further sales, if your products and services are aligned with those needs. If not, you may be able to refer them to a colleague of yours who specializes in that niche.
Today, while conferring with a new client, they were expressing discontent about another person in my same field who came to her expecting a retainer payment to commence work. When the prospect informed this website designer that they had questions, the designer’s response was: “I know all your questions and I have all the answers.” It didn’t surprise me that this prospect has continued to look for a website designer. That sort of reply totally invalidated this nice lady, making her feel as if her feelings and questions were completely irrelevant.
Communication is an art, and the most important aspect of communicating with anyone is listening to what they are saying. While a college degree isn’t required to enter any entrepreneurial arena, effective business people will educate themselves in the things that will further their business and increase their referrals.