We all learned lessons as children when we were trying to be heard. “Don’t interrupt, the adults are talking.” or “Wait for your turn to talk.” Your current communication style has a lot to do with how you learned those first lessons.
How You Learned to Communicate
Some learned to wait patiently until someone stopped to listen to them. Some could not learn that lesson and would not stop interrupting and demanding to be heard. They continued regardless of the needs of others. It is important to recognize how you learned to communicate because it is likely you are still doing it the same way if it worked for you then. You just may not recognize how it works, or does not work, for you now.
Get Them Talking and Listen
Consider your communication style with clients or coworkers. In order to establish rapport, you have to be a great listener. Get them talking. The more you listen, the more they will talk. The more they feel heard, the more they will trust and like you. Keep them talking and keep listening. If they like you and trust you, you are more likely to make the sale.
Interruptions are Unprofessional
Don’t interrupt. Nothing tells your client or co-worker that you are not interested in them more than when you cut them off mid-sentence or talk over them when they are speaking. You may know more about a topic than they do, but if you disregard what they have to say by cutting them off or cutting them short, you have likely lost them and will have to double your efforts to get them back. Getting them back may be hard, if not impossible to do, and getting yourself in that position is not very wise if you are trying to sell them something.
One Mouth - Two Ears
Like the philosopher Epictetus, I believe in the "One Mouth-Two Ears" philosophy. Listen twice as much as you speak. Pause for two to three seconds after someone is done speaking and watch their face for signs of engagement, interest, or disinterest. Begin speaking only when you are sure they are listening.
Hearing and Understanding
Be sure that you hear them. Being able to repeat what your potential client just said is not good enough. You have to demonstrate that you understood what they said, how they said it, and why. If you don’t understand, ask questions until you do and then repeat what they said in your own words to demonstrate your understanding. Ask the right questions the right way. Ask open-ended questions that encourage them to speak freely. The more they talk, the more comfortable they will get with you and the more relevant information you will gather.
How the Best Advisors Communicate
The best advisors know how to ask the right questions at the right time, and they also know how to get prospects or clients to ask the right questions. They do not just jump in there and start telling the client or prospect what they need. The advisors ask questions. They give the most honest answers that they can. They do not act as if they are smarter than prospects or clients. Instead, the advisors demonstrate their knowledge and experience.
THAT is great communication. THAT is great service. THAT is how you do business.
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