A colleague told me a story about an engineering business having trouble with the reliability and frequent failure of its products.
A fellow speaker described what they do as helping people to listen.
A different colleague told us how he had created a multi-million dollar business using a simple sales technique.
The engineering business resolved the quality issues when they started listening to the mechanics using the equipment, and took note of the modifications these enthusiasts were making to their own machines.
My speaker colleague is a specialist in mediation and problem resolution. Most problems occur because people are not really listening to each other, or even worse just sending emails.
The sales technique is to (at its simplest) listen to what your potential customers want, and then provide a solution.
“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak” is a quote attributed to Epictetus the Greek philosopher.
If you are listening to the people on the front line – those who have to deal with the customer, or fix the problems – you can see patterns and take steps to minimize those problems before they occur.
If you are listening to your team, you can recognise when morale is not what you would like it to be. Poor morale in your team will lead to poorer customer service and to poorer business performance.
In negotiation, if you are really listening to the other parties you will be much more successful.
In sales, if you drown out the customer by telling them what you can do, you may miss the opportunity where they tell you what they really need. Supply what your customer really needs and you will keep a customer forever.
Try listening more – you don’t know what you might hear!