“If your mouth is opening you are not learning.”
This is just one of the many thousands of wise words from Buddha and whilst it is obviously true, it is advice so seldom acted on.
So, why is this?
Well, the subject itself is a huge, but in essence we live in a very busy world – one it seems where we just don’t know how to listen anymore.
For business owners trying to make sales and run their companies the distractions are even greater than the average Joe Public, but the ability to listen is an essential skill in how to make sales, which are needed for every business owner to prosper.
Whatever your company sells, its whole purpose is to serve the customer, but if you really don’t take the time to find out what the customer really wants, then how can you properly succeed?
In arguably the greatest business book of the 20th century, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey says that we first need to seek to understand, then be understood.
When the book was written in the 1980s this was true, but now, with everyone in business having a flashing and beeping mobile device in their pockets, ready to bring new distractions ever working minute, his words need to be acted upon more than ever.
True listening involves removing our egos, and all the other distractions and being actively present and 100 per cent attentive – it’s not thinking about what you’re up to at the weekend with the family, or thinking about that report you have to finish by Friday, it’s about being there in the moment.
Listening properly isn’t about just the words either; it’s about the whole way the message is communicated. It’s the body language, the emphasis on words, even the bits and pieces you detect the other person doesn’t want to talk about. That’s the innate sixth sense where we properly communicate.
Now in 2016, we at SalesRadar believe listening is a skill even more essential than the ability to talk when it comes to making sales.
It seems sadly, that in business, there is too much emphasis on the smooth talking sales professional who could sell sand to the Arabs, but this character plays a much smaller role in today’s business world.
Listening will give you insights that you have never thought of, as well as building up trust with whoever you are communicating with.
And if you believe you are a good listening think again. In the book, Excellence In Business Communication, the authors Thill and Bovee say: “Listening is a far more complex process than most people think. .. most of us listen at or below a 25 percent efficiency rate, remember only about half of what’s said during a 10-minute conversation, and forget half of that within 48 hours.”
So in short, it’s something we could all do better with.
So it’s time we closed our mouths, opened our minds and made a concerted effort to learn. Done correctly it will make better businesses, happier customers and also a better world!