December 11, 2011

Appreciation Marketing – Ask and Listen


Very often, we discuss topics which are not new at all.  It is the same as when we attend a seminar on a topic which we have heard previously; we just need the topic to be refreshed in our minds.  This week, I want to discuss the acts of asking others what they need and of listening to what they answer.  Ask and listen is so simple, but we do not do it consistently.

Whenever we meet with anyone, you should ask them what it is that they need, either in business or personally.  We cannot know how we may help someone improve their business or their personal life unless we know what they need.  Sometimes it may take some detailed conversation and discussion to actually answer this question.  Rarely is the actual answer as simple as we would want it to be.

How could you possibly know that whatever you have to offer will help the person with whom you are meeting until you find out what they need?  This process may require some detailed and subsequent questions to better define their needs.  The other person may not know what they really need; they may be mistaken in their initial response, as more conversation will reveal.  You may need to ask probing questions as you step by step move through their answers.

At this point you have already entered the second phase of your meeting, the listening phase.  Actually what you are doing should be described as ask, listen, repeat.  You will find that your initial question will need to be followed by more questions as the other party answers you.  Your listening must be able to lead you to those subsequent questions and reveal the details needed by both parties.

It is through intelligent questions, astute listening, and repeating the process that you will build a successful business, as well as a personal, relationship, or partnership with others.  Those successful relationships are what result in increased trust, build business success, and lead to individual cooperation toward mutually rewarding bottom lines.

Remember that you are not trying to fit your product or service into their budget.  You are trying to find out what they need and if you can fill that need, whether it is your product or service, your referrals to others, your advice, or your good will and support.  You have formed a networking relationship; if that means forming a customer-supplier bond, so be it.  If that means not forming that bond, but maintaining a relationship, so be that.

Also remember that if you do form a relationship where you do provide a product or service to someone, make sure that the other person knows how that product or service can fill their need.  Make sure that they know how to use your offering to their best advantage, not yours.  Remember that you must be of service to others, placing their needs first in your mind and actions.  We should always serve others first and foremost.  Then success will follow, and success will reflect the service that you provide to others.

How do you feel about asking, listening, and repeating the process?  Do you practice this process, or do you just start selling when you first meet someone?  Let me have your thoughts by leaving me your comments, or email me at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or call me at 360-314-8691.  Your positive success should be a result of your positive actions towards others, and your positive relationships are the basis for positive futures for everyone.

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