Are You Hearing What Isn’t Being Said?

Peter Drucker once said, “The most important thing in communication is to hear what isn’t being said.”  This is so true and extremely important because the quality of our relationships depends on the quality of our communications; and when it comes to sales for your business and growing your business through referral marketing, this concept is a cornerstone for success.

Photo Courtesy of Ohmega1982 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo Courtesy of Ohmega1982 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Of course, not all sales transactions require incredible relationships or communication (e.g., online shopping), yet even big box stores like Wal-Mart–not known for warm customer relations–illustrate the value they place on communication and relationships by employing a visitor host to greet customers at the entrance of their stores.

Sara Minnis, a friend of mine, has often dealt with a phobia many sales people face within the sales process by coaching salespeople who are afraid of being rejected by a prospect or customer.  She says, “Sales ‘phobics’ might have an unrealistic fear of being rejected during cold calling, during the closing phase, or on a phone conversation.”  This, she suggests, is because the phobic salesperson tends to focus their communication on the emotional fit between themselves and the customer.  She explains, “The real business of selling can’t begin until the sales phobic feels that the prospect likes him or her.”  To avoid this, she says, “The professional seller directs her communication toward finding a fit between her product and the buyer’s need.  Focusing on being liked only enhances fears of personal rejection, while attending to the customer’s needs drives the transaction toward a closed deal.”

Sellers in strong relationships with their clients have a competitive advantage because the client feels connected or bonded to the seller.  The single most important tool sellers use to establish a connecting bond with another person is communication.  In fact, building a bonded relationship is completely dependent on having quality communications with another individual.

The art and science of communication is more than talking and hearing words.  There are many strategies and techniques aimed at earning the right to have your message heard.  If you can communicate at a level that matches the customer’s style rather than your own, you will be well on your way to masterful sales conversations.

Masters of sales today assume more of a consultative perspective to their selling work.  In fact, many box retail stores use the term “sales consultant” to describe the store clerk of yesterday.  Master sales consultants know that their ability to communicate is critical to selling client solutions, because rapport and trust, the cornerstones of selling, are built or lost based on communication.

So what can you do this week to improve your communication skills in order to speak to be heard and hear to know how to speak (e.g., joining a Toastmasters club, reading books like Dr. Mark Goulston’s Just Listen, etc.)?  I’d love to hear your ideas in the comment forum below.

Facts Tell, But Stories Sell

Over the past few weeks, I’ve posted blogs on how embracing quality, adding members, and seeking engagement are all things that will help networkers and entire networking groups achieve success.  Today, I’d like to talk about an additional tactic for obtaining stellar networking results–sharing stories.

Listening closely to the information shared by those in your referral network will help you in telling positive stories about them when you come across potential opportunities to refer them.  Conducting regular one-to-one meetings with each of your networking partners will also help you become more able to share stories when you refer others to them.  Think about your many positive experiences with your fellow networkers and write them down.

A number of years ago, I met Robert Dickman, author of The Elements of Persuasion, and he taught me the formula for a good story:

  1. A story is a fact
  2. Wrapped in emotion
  3. That compels us to take action
  4. That transforms us in some way

The key here is that a good story compels people to take action and that this action transforms or helps them in some way.  I always try to re-live a story, not just re-tell a story.  Make it sound fresh and alive.  That is an important aspect of storytelling.

Remember that facts tell, but stories sell.  If you want to build your network in order to generate more referrals, overlay storytelling on top of your efforts.

The keys to success within networking groups which I’ve previously posted blogs about (embracing quality, adding members, seeking engagement) can combine with sharing stories for a powerful formula that will help members of networking groups obtain optimum networking results and business growth:

3+1 = Member Success

  • 1-Embrace Quality
  • 2-Add Members
  • 3-Seek Engagement
  • +1 Share Stories

Understanding this formula can improve your business networking success in amazing ways. 

If your networking group already employs this formula, I’d love to hear about the impact it has made on your group’s performance and results.  Please share your feedback (and stories) in the comment forum below.  Thanks!

Networking Is an Acquired Skill

The Third Law of Notable Networking: Networking Is an Acquired Skill
(Click Here to read about the First Law of Notable Networking and Click Here to read about the Second Law)

Most people are not born networkers; they develop the skills through education, training, the right attitude, and long practice.  Any technique of value requires a commitment to learning how to use it effectively.  The next generation of business professionals will operate under a different model of management, in which networking will be an integral element.  Take advantage of every opportunity you have to learn to network more effectively.  It is a skill that will only grow in importance.

Remember Will Rogers’ statement about being on the right track:  “If you’re just sitting there, you’re going to get run over!”  If you are active in a networking organization, you’re “on the right track.”  The key, however, is to take advantage of the opportunities that these groups have to offer.  This means you need to be an active participant in the networking process to get any substantive results.

Curiously, many people invest time in networking, but not in learning how.  This is like trying to play tennis or golf without lessons.  Sure, you can perform, but how well?  Simply attending meetings is not enough.  You need to listen to CDs, read books and articles, talk to people who network well, and most important, practice what you’ve learned.  This is no less than what you would do to learn how to play golf, manage people, or sell a product.

Always keep in mind that in order to develop a successful word-of-mouth-based business, you must attend every networking event that you can and practice, practice, practice!  Practice greeting people, handing out your card, asking for their cards, listening, excusing yourself, and introducing yourself to others.  If you have questions about what to do (and/or not do) in order to most effectively greet people, exchange cards, listen, excuse or introduce yourself, please let me know in the comment forum below.  I’m more than happy to do follow-up blog posts on any/all of those specific aspects of networking (as well as any other aspects you may have questions about). Thanks!

Tom Connellan: Improving Your Personal & Professional Life Is a Piece of Cake!

(Dr. Thomas K. Connellan, New York Times Bestselling Author)

I’ve been recommending a book by Tom Connellan, Inside the Magic Kingdom, for years and I have great respect and admiration for Tom’s wisdom and his work–today, I’d like to share with you a guest blog written by Tom.

 

The Next Big Thing Is Small, Completely under Your Control

Something You Can Do Right Now Which Produces Massive Results in 71 Days

Could you improve some aspect of your personal or professional life by 1% by this time tomorrow?  Of course you could!

At the close of my keynotes over the past 48 months, I’ve asked thousands of people that question.  In all that time, no one has ever said, “Nah, I can’t make a 1% improvement–not in a day, anyway.”  The response has been just the opposite: “Only 1%?” . . . “That’s doable.” . . . “Piece of cake.” . . .”Anyone can improve something by 1% in a day–probably more.”  These responses are exactly right–it IS a piece of cake.

Let’s take an example of something a lot of people want to improve: their listening skills.  You could be 1% better at listening to other members of your networking group at your next meeting.  You could be 1% better at listening to your clients, colleagues, and the people who work for you.  You could be 1% better at listening to your kids, your spouse . . . you get the idea.

The best part?  If you improve by just 1% every day, in 71 days you will be twice as good.  If you think you can’t last 71 days, then in just 42 days, you will be one and a half times as good.  (And once you see the difference it makes in your life, I bet you will keep going.)

Just as compounding interest grows your bank balance even if you add only small deposits, making daily bite-sized chunks of improvement brings an outsized boost to your skill level.  Imagine the edge you would have over your competitors if you were twice as good at listening to your clients’ needs and your colleagues’ ideas.  Think of how much better your relationships would be if you were deeply listening and communicating with the people you love.

It’s true.  The next big thing is 1% and making a 1& improvement is easy. 

So, why isn’t everybody doing it already?  Because not making a 1% improvement is even easier.  Inertia holds us in place.  As Newton said, a body at rest stays at rest.  We make up all sorts of excuses for not starting now, or tomorrow, or the day after that.

The only way to get past inertia is to put yourself in motion.  Go ahead and make that first 1% improvement.  The game will begin to change.  You will overcome inertia and start gathering momentum, because a body in motion stays in motion.

All you have to do is start.  Now.  Pick something that matters to you.  Choose to be 1% better.  It probably won’t even take a day–more like a minute.

So just start!

What do you think of this guest blog by Tom?  Please leave your feedback in the comments section. 

To find out more about Tom Connellan, please visit: www.tomconnellan.com.

Become an Information Exchange

Networking involves constant interaction with people from all walks of life and, if you keep your ears open, you can learn a heck of a lot.

And, guess what?  Knowing a heck of a lot makes you smarter.  Guess what’s even better?  Being able to communicate what you know and using it to help people get what they need makes you a valuable contact and a master networker.  It makes you an information exchange.

Start by listening to everything. Train yourself to listen to conversations you might ordinarily tune out, and to evaluate every issue you hear with an eye to how it fits into the pool of talent, expertise and resources your network represents.

One way to enhance this skill is to write down a list of your networking contacts and their products, services and special capabilities. Read the list every day, keep it up to date and respond quickly when something you hear connects up with something else on the list.

Learn as much as you can about the special terminologies of your contacts’ businesses. When you’re referring someone with a problem to someone with a possible solution, it adds to your effectiveness and credibility to speak the language of both.  It also helps you recognize the connection.

Last but not least, always follow these tips when communicating information to those in your network:

  • Speak simply, clearly and  in plain language whenever possible.
  • Keep the message short and relevant.
  • End with your offer to help.

‘Just Listen’–Get Through to Absolutely Anyone

It’s no secret that a master networker has two ears and one mouth and uses them proportionally. But even if you think you’re a good listener, you may be surprised at how much you might still be lacking when it comes to listening effectively.

My good friend Mark Goulston’s new book, Just Listen, will not only teach you how to make a powerful and positive first impression by listening effectively, it will even show you how to turn the “impossible” and “unreachable” people in your life into allies, devoted customers, loyal colleagues and lifetime friends.

The point is, if you want to maximize your networking efforts and build the strongest network possible, the skill of truly listening is crucial for you to develop; and Just Listen is the ultimate, must-read guide that you need to get your hands on.

Mark is a bestselling author, a psychiatrist, a business consultant, an executive coach and a hostage-negotiation trainer for the FBI. Over the span of his career in these fields, he has found what consistently works to reach all kinds of people in any situation. Any guesses as to what he’s found one of the most powerfully effective strategies for getting through to anyone might be? . . . Yep, you got it! . . . LISTENING!

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who could teach you how to listen more effectively than Mark, and I can guarantee you that you won’t have a problem focusing on reading his book (“listening” to his words as you read) because he’s not only a pretty darn interesting guy, he’s also remarkably entertaining! 🙂

CLICK HERE to visit Mark’s website

CLICK HERE to find out more about Just Listen.

Read reviews and purchase Just Listen on Amazon.com

Read reviews and purchase Just Listen on Barnes&Noble.com

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