Learning to Listen


A Communication Issue Today

So, you just want to talk and don’t want any answers? As a professional sales person, I run into this all the time. Being married for over 17 years, I run into the daily – yet I tend to miss it in most cases.

So in my marriage, my wife shares things with me and we talk about her day or her job or whatever may be on her mind and I always trying to fix it or come up with a solution to whatever issue she may be having. I tend to take this same approach to my professional life, as well. Being a solution provider, consultant, all-around know it all, I think I need to have the answer to whatever problem you may have.

What I am learning is I don’t always need to have the answer. I may not always have the answer. WHAT??? Yes, I said it – I may not know, and you know what? You may not even want an answer.

My Job is to Listen

This is my job: to listen, and when you ask –  then know where to go to get the answer or recognize when I have a solution to your problem – then and only then, can I provide an option. Not the only solution, but an option that may fit your need.

Learning to Listen

With my wife, it is usually to just smile and offer support, with my co-workers, the same. With my prospects, it is about being there when the time is right and the need is great. So how does one sell if you are not trying to offer solutions? Maybe we just need to learn to listen and understand how people ask for help or how they express the need to want a solution. This, I think is the goal. To understand that everyone asks for help in different ways and as we learn to listen to them, we will learn to understand when they are asking for asssitance and when they are just talking.

The Connection

So you’re asking what does listening to your wife or co-workers have to do with my business?? Let’s take a step back and examine the Human Resource Space and Technology which supports it. What do most HR leaders want today? More time, more people, less redundancy, if we take the time to listen, we ( I ) will learn what exactly my clients and potential clients need. This comes from listening to what they want. Their underlying needs are revealed when they speak of what they want or we simply converse.

Every leader wants different things – most are driven by a few needs. My job in sales is to see if our product(s) meet those needs and fulfill those wants. The real key is understanding. If my product or service does not fill it, then I can refer those individuals or organizations to one that does and accept that our solution doesn’t and that’s ok.

Just like it’s ok not to have an answer for the Wife? It’s ok not to have an answer for my potential clients.


The Lesson?

Continue to learn to listen, so I can hear when and what you are asking.

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