How do you learn anything about the other person’s business if you do not spend most of your time
listening to what they have to say?
I cannot say it enough. You need to always listen and not try to interrupt what others are saying. The less you talk, the more information you will gather about the other person’s business. It is also important that you jot the info down as soon as you leave the conversation. We will go into this a little later in the book. Getting back to listening – you must tune yourself into keywords so that you will know if this is a person you will want to do business with.
It is keywords you will be listening for, not the general conversation topics. The general conversation does not usually lead to specifics as to the exact pain; you need to interject and ask a few questions, and then keep on listening. What matters is not what you have to say but what you ask and how you listen to the answers. Be sure you hang on to every word for the message you are looking for, even offer some temporary solutions that you can follow up with at a later appointment.
Listening is the key to all business relationships; you must practice this skill over and over. It is not an easy task to constantly listen and not beat your own drum. Did you ever go to a party and all people talk about is themselves, you will likely find that you fall into this category as well? It is a natural tendency to talk about you and not really listen to what others have to say. Another important point is not to start talking at the same time as the other person; they will find it annoying as they have not had a chance to finish their talking (about themselves of course).
Listening is a skill that needs to be practiced. It is very difficult to hear others talk and not make comments. You should practice how well you listen with a partner. Take a timer and plan for 5 minutes of listening before you speak. Have your partner talk about their life story while you simply listen. This is probably one of the most difficult things to do; you need to practice patience while listening to others.