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The Most Important Skill You Need to Grow Your Business
Like so many CEOs, I never would have gotten anywhere in my professional life if it weren’t for the support of people who believed in me, supported me, and helped me find the opportunities that allowed me to continue to grow. I worked hard to be deserving of those opportunities, but I was always grateful for those professional contacts that helped me accomplish those goals, no matter what they were. It was both humbling and uplifting.
Most importantly, my very best clients, the people with whom I’ve had the longest and most successful business relationships, became my close friends. Ideally, I really only want to do business with people that I care very much about and for whom I am invested in their success.
Ultimately, don’t we all want to build a business that includes relationships with people that we care about and want to be around?
But it has to start somewhere. How do you begin to connect with people that you are just meeting for the first time? How do you turn networking prospects into partners? How do you turn first-time clients into long-term ambassadors of your brand?
The key to creating lasting relationships is listening. People who feel truly heard experience psychological changes. Listening is an art form and doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. Personally, I am a recovering interrupter who has had to actively learn new behaviors to move this part of myself forward.
Here are some useful tips for practicing your listening skills:
• Listen attentively without interruption.
• Listen without any attempt to leap in and share my own ideas.
• Lean forward and face the person who is speaking.
• Focus on the eyes and face of the speaker.
• Listen as though you have all the time in the world.
• Listen as though you would listen for the next 8 years, focused on every word.
• Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
• Pause before replying!!!!
Remember – Selling takes place in the words, but buying takes place in the silence. Practice your listening, and see how it affects the people around you and your efforts to build relationships.