Are you the first person to talk in every conversation? Do you think your listening skills are pretty good because you let the other person speak? If you are busy waiting to jump in with your own thoughts chances are you never heard anyone else’s conversation. The best business owners and sales reps have developed excellent listening skills. They understand that even the words people are saying may not be the complete message. Hearing the person’s complete message, recognizing body language that gives another message, and tracking the speaker on what they are saying by repeating their message back to be sure you are clear on what they are saying and validate that you are listening will help you to be successful.

The first year I was working in TV advertising I almost made the rookie mistake of “thinking” I knew what the client wanted to spend for his advertising campaign. I failed to do a complete “needs analysis” and my eagerness to please this important client had me create a proposal that was 10% of what he actually wanted to spend. Thankfully, I was with a more seasoned account executive who told me to keep the proposal in my briefcase and wait to hear more of what the client wanted for networks and what he wanted to accomplish with the campaign. I had learned so much from watching the other sales rep and from listening to the client that I never made the mistake of trying to “sell” a person again. My approach shifted to hearing more about their business and what they wanted to achieve. If what they needed matched my skills or what I had to offer then it didn’t require selling because it sold itself.

Listening is essential when you are with a customer, but it is also key when you are working with your banker, accountant, lawyer, marketing coach or business consultant. The professionals in these areas have so much knowledge that will benefit your business, but if you are too busy talking during your meeting or you choose to see yourself as knowing everything there is no room for growth. A person is not teachable when they believe they are already taught. I regularly attend seminars for marketing and advertising because I recognize that no one knows everything and to stay on top of my profession I need to be open to listening to others.

Finally, if you are not quite sure of what someone is talking about it is important that you ask questions. Leaving a room with a question still pending because you didn’t voice it will drain your energy with worry, limit the connection you have with the other person and keep you from gaining what you need to be the best at what you do. Listen and learn and gain the success you are looking for in your field!

All my best to your success!

“Success wears the Purple Diamond!”