Sidney C. Walker
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February 2012

Can You Hear Me Now?
by Sidney C. Walker


We live in the information age. We have to process more information than ever before. A large amount of this information is created just to get our attention. We are barraged with commercial encouragement to do everything imaginable. Coupled with our busy and demanding lives with lots to attend to, it is not hard to imagine that when you are talking to a prospective client, they may have more on their mind than just listening to what you have to say. This creates a big problem.


If your prospects are distracted with many things on their minds, they are not as likely to understand what you are saying or presenting the first time through. They will most likely smile and nod as if to understand but all to often you will find out at the end of the sales process that they are not buying. Why are they not buying? Probably because you talked a lot and didn't get much feedback to test for their understanding.


How do you test to make sure you prospect is understanding your ideas? The quickest and simplest way is to pause after each important point and ask them to tell you what they heard. You can say, "Tell me what you heard from what I just said John." Or, "How am I doing Mary? Is this making any sense? Can you give me your version of what I just said?" Experiment and find your favorite ways to pose the question.


Another technique I am constantly reminding my coaching clients to use is to ask a lot of questions. When you make statement after statement, people don't really have to listen very carefully. They can actually be thinking about something else while they are nodding their head like they understand. They are likely nodding their head to let you know they hear you speaking, not that they understand what you are saying .


If you ask people questions, they have to stop and think about how they are doing to respond. If you ask people a lot of questions, they start to pay attention because they know another question is probably just around the corner. When people are listening to answer your next question, you have much greater odds that your prospects are giving you their full attention and a whole lot more understanding is happening.


How do you learn to stop making so many statements and ask more questions? This takes some conscious awareness and training but anyone can do it. If I find myself making a lot of statements (telling), I will end my speech with a question like, "How do you feel about that John?" Or, "What are your thoughts on the matter, Mary?" Probably one the most important things you can do as a relationship-oriented advisor is to make sure the prospect or client feels you are checking in to see how they feel about what you are saying.


I love to sell or promote an idea, especially if I really believe it is a good one. But more important than my enthusiasm for my solution to the problem is to make sure my client knows that they always have a choice when working with me. They always get the final say no matter how excited I am about the solution. I like to remind my clients of this fact by simply saying, "John and Mary, I am obviously excited about this solution but what's more important is how are you feeling about my idea? Give me some honest feedback."


I have a challenge for you that I guarantee will make you money! Take the next thing you are going to tell someone and turn it into a question.


Let me know how it works.

Toll-free: 877-985-3297



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