Knowing customer wants and needs is a key part of providing a useful and successful business. Having effective listening skills is essential because if you aren’t able to listen to your client then how can you be expected to know what they want or need?
By following the guidelines below you can develop effective listening skills that are necessary for success in the business world.
1. Use attentive body language – an attentive listener will lean forward, make eye contact and face a customer squarely. Actions speak louder than words.
2. Focus – when listening to a customer, try not to be distracted by other thoughts you may have or other visual distractions.
3. Listen more than you speak – you have two ears and one mouth for a reason. If you are speaking you can’t hear what the customer is saying and thus you are defeating the purpose of listening.
4. Have an open mind – just because you may dislike what a customer is saying doesn’t give you the right to ignore it. Try to be open to all ideas and views that a customer may be expressing, after all your view may not be the right one either.
5. Don’t jump to conclusions – don’t judge the customer by their race, religion or anything else, every customer deserves respect. Customers should not be interrupted by you or have to contend with you completing their sentences - it is rude and inconsiderate.
6. Show understanding – if a customer is speaking to you, make sure to acknowledge that you are hearing them, no one wants to speak to a wall. You should provide encouraging responses where needed, reflect the customer’s feelings and summarize that you understand what the customer has expressed.
You can hear at 400 words a minute and with that much information flowing into your brain it can be hard to focus on the message; that’s why it is important to have effective listening skills – so you can serve your customer to the best of your ability.
Dermot Fitzpatrick is the owner of Fitz Solutions Inc. a software development company that creates powerful easy to use software tools for the construction industry. These include estimating, project management and job costing. Custom software design services are also offered.