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Active Listening Skills Strengthen Trust with Clients

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By John Boe

RISMEDIA, December 11, 2010—An ancient Chinese proverb reminds us; “To listen well, is as powerful a means of influence as to talk well.” While everyone can benefit from this sage advice, these words of wisdom are particularly appropriate for real estate professionals. Would you consider yourself a good listener? Perhaps a more important question might be, how would your clients, business associates, friends and family members rate your listening ability? Their feedback might just surprise you, because most people believe they’re much better listeners than they truly are.

Poor listeners frequently confuse the physical act of hearing with the emotional art of listening. While hearing is a function of biology, active listening skills must be acquired and developed. In the selling process, when you talk, you merely provide information, but when you genuinely listen, you show respect, create trust and develop rapport. Unfortunately, our educational system places emphasis on speaking and writing, but not on listening. The only way to become a better listener is to mindfully practice “active listening” in all of your daily encounters—from the kitchen table to the sales table.

Active listening refers to making a conscious effort to hear your customer’s words as well as to try and understand the total message being sent—both verbally and nonverbally. It requires you to listen not only with your ears, but also with your eyes. It’s important to monitor your client’s body language gestures and look for congruency between words, posture, movement and tone of voice.

Are you able to stay focused on your client or does your mind wander? By giving your client your full and undivided attention, you’re laying a foundation of trust and building rapport. Discipline your mind and put aside distracting thoughts. Each time you catch your mind starting to wander, “grab it” and immediately refocus your attention back to your client. Show that you’re listening by using your body language gestures to convey your attention. A simple smile or nod of the head conveys that you’re listening without interrupting your client’s flow of thought.

The best real estate salespeople have a tendency to listen and ask great probing questions. They don’t make assumptions, they summarize and seek clarity. An occasional question or comment to recap what has been said communicates that you understand the message. Until this is done, your client will resist your input.

Where communication is poor, mistakes increase, relationships breakdown and opportunities to make the sale are missed. If you want to enhance your professional image, strengthen relationships and dramatically improve your sales effectiveness, I encourage you to listen while you work.

John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales meetings and conventions. Boe is a nationally recognized sales trainer and business motivational speaker with an impeccable track record in the meeting industry. To have John speak at your next event, visit www.johnboe.com or call 937-299-9001.

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