Are you listening? How to better understand your clients

By Kelly Leighton | Jan. 19, 2018 | 3 min. read

The moves that Realtors® can make to achieve success are not “monumental.”

“They are small—even micro—moves that can be easily introduced in any client interaction. And the best news of all is that these moves energize us and help strengthen our motivation in a virtuous cycle to learn more and more from our clients. As we learn more interesting things about our clients and their unique business problems and opportunities, we want to learn even more, and our clients become increasingly eager to share and explore with us. Our deal sizes grow, clients appreciate our partnership more and we enjoy more success. So, any small move you make with a client today puts you on this path,” said Justin Jones, author of  Naked Sales: How Design Thinking Reveals Customer Motives and Drives Revenue with Ashley Welch.

“Understand the full ‘why’ of clients. Typically, we in sales are very good at understanding what clients are interested in, where potential solutions may best fit, the timing our clients have in mind and certainly how much the client is interested in investing. Where we tend to come up short is understanding the ‘why:’ Why this problem and its solutions are important to all the people who will be impacted, especially customers and front-line employees,” Jones added.

Welch said agents tend to rely too much on their own expertise, and decide what solution will help the client before knowing all the facts. “This predetermination often occurs even before we’ve met the client. In our eagerness to push for that fast close, we unwittingly lengthen the sales cycle time and add risk to the deal because we’re not open to learning the unique nuances within each client organization which, once identified and shared, offer energy and momentum for change,” added Welch.

Welch also talked about the “tremendous” pressure that agents can face. “We work hard, we work fast, and we work smart to make our clients happy and bring those revenue numbers through the door. We rely on our past experience to shortcut client problem diagnosis and to arrive at a solution we can offer. Together, these forces combine to form a self-centered quality to the sales profession, which our clients can smell for miles,” she said.

Jones added, “We all know what if feels like to be listened to, understood and even appreciated at a deep level. When these qualities are present, each of us feels smarter, more articulate and we’re more likely to share even more about ourselves. In a sales context, this translates to richer discovery, larger opportunities and competitive proof relationships with our clients. We mistakenly assume that it’s the speaker or presenter who has the power in a given interaction, when it’s quality listen that gives interactions depth, meaning and human connection.”

“We have to engage them with a beginner’s mindset, recognizing that there’s likely something new and different about this client’s needs. We become co-creators with our client and transcend the typical seller-buyer polarity that limits engagement and opportunity,” added Welch.

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