Monday, June 11, 2007

The Lost Art of Listening - TSF

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We have all probably experienced the home party that makes you want to stop your presentation and scream “Hello…do mind? I'm trying to talk up here and you three ladies in the corner are so busy talking to each other that you aren't listening to what I have to say.”

But when you think about it, isn't that what we do sometimes when we are expressing our enthusiasm for the business opportunity? We are, in fact, so busy making sure that our prospect hears what it is that WE have to say that we forget to listen to them.

The hardest part of listening is remembering to shut up long enough to give the other person the opportunity to talk. However, once mastered - learning to be an effective listener - including making good eye contact - will reap many rewards when done well.

You are flattering the person you are talking to by listening to them and so right from the start you build good rapport. Think about your last home party presentation. Didn't you relate better to the person who was listening and nodding than the three women having their own `gab session' in the back of the room?

By listening carefully you will pick up personal information. Nothing builds rapport better with a woman than remembering her child's name, where she lives or what her interests are.

By listening and asking good questions, you may uncover needs that require filling (sometimes referred to as a customer's `hot button'). For example, she may mention that she has recently decided to stay home with her children but money is tight, or that she is currently working outside the home but is unhappy with her daycare situation, or that her family will be moving soon and she is looking for ways to make new friends.

Finally, one of the best ways to get referrals is by developing good listening skills. You may be surprised at what you hear when you listen in on conversations before during and after your party presentation. Who is a teacher looking for summer work or extra income? Who is active in her church (and can perhaps help you with a name to contact for a fundraiser?). Who has a broad base of friends or relatives in the area? You get the idea.

Think about taking in more information than you give out the next time you are in any kind of a social situation and you may be surprised at what you HEAR!

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