The Greatest Gift You Can Give A Customer Part One

To be effective in sales you need to be a Master Communicator. People often think about communication as just the out flowing of data . However, the Master Communicator knows it is not only skillfully being able to outflow the data but more importantly, mastering the ability to listen. True communication starts with the ability to listen without judgment and recreate the customer’s communication. In my 30 years of observing IT professionals communicate, it is obvious that listening and recreation skills are very weak.

I was talking with one senior IT sales manager in Asia and after all his years of experience he decided to write a book on sales. His title was…”Shut Up and Listen”.

The greatest gift you can give a customer or any other human being is to listen and recreate their communication. What does this mean and why doesn’t it happen?

True listening is ability to be in present time and create a non-judgmental space in which the other person can communicate into. Being present and non-judgmental is a very rare skill. Why?

First, few people are able to be in present time. They are always thinking about the future or the past. If you don’t believe me, do your own research. Imagine you had three bottles and every time a thought popped into your consciousness you would label it as a thought from the past, a thought about the future or a present time thought. At the end of the day empty out each of the bottles. What do you think you would discover? What you would discover is that almost every thought you have is either about the future or the past. The present time bottle, for the most part, would be empty. Although you operate as if, and believe you are in, present time all day long.

To achieve a state of presence or level of consciousness (which I refer to it as a Broadband Connection to this moment of now) is doable. In the sales call here are three things you can do to move into this state of awareness.

One, before you speak give yourself the conscious command to lock on to the customer’s eyes as often as appropriate and form a little VPN (Virtual Private Network) tunnel between you and the customer. In this instance, you are giving yourself a conscious command to do something which will automatically increase your level of consciousness.

Two, be aware of your breath. From time to time consciously take a deep breath. You can only consciously take a deep breath in present time. A side benefit of conscious breathing is it will relax your body. When your body is relaxed you have great access to your database of thoughts.

Third, be aware of your feet connecting to the floor. Consciously connecting the eyes and feet form a solid OSI (Open Systems Interconnection) physical Layer One connection between you and the customer. You are now grounded in the space and this will maximizes the flow of communication current between you and the customer.

If you choose to practice these things, what you will first notice is that you were not consciously connected to the eyes of the customer before talking, you were not taking conscious breaths during the sales call and you had no awareness of your feet connecting to the floor.

In other words you were not fully present in that moment of now. Through conscious practice you will discover that one of the greatest portals you have to enter into and stay in the vast sea of presence is your physical body

The second reason why this skill of listening is so rare is because we all live in a conditioned conceptual reality and don’t know it. We live under the delusion that we are independent and have free will. The conditioning process starts from birth and you are totally unconscious of it. For example, your are given a name, a nationality, a religion, an education, you are told that the earth is the center of the solar system and that it is flat. This conditioning creates the filter through which you listen to the world. You automatically judge, evaluate and assess every event that occurs in your field of now by comparing it to your conditioned database of beliefs, values and knowledge. For example, right now my words are an event occurring in your field of now. You have been judging, evaluating and assessing the words I have written by comparing them to your own database of knowledge. You have been saying to yourself that these thoughts are true, not true, interesting, ridiculous, waste of time, fantastic, etc.

If my “conditioning” statement above is true, then you have to conclude that what you think is an objective interpretation of what is being said by the customer is actually a subjective interpretation because your conditioning skews your listening. This is why true listening seldom happens. In the next article I will share with more about being a master listener and expanding your ability to listen without judgment.

Alan Carroll, author of The Broadband Connection: The Art of Delivering a Winning IT Presentation. Mr. Carroll is an Educational Psychologist specializing in the transpersonal field.

He has been a preferred training vendor at Cisco Systems for over 16 years.

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