The Greatest Gift You Can Give A Customer Part Two

One communication objective in a sales situation is to be a Master Listener. Why? Because by listening you gain access into your customer’s world. You begin to understand the customer’s goals, challenges and needs. Once you understand the needs then you can determine if your features, functions and benefits will satisfy those needs.

I pointed out in Part One of the Greatest Gift that in the communication dialogue you are not fully present and you filter what is being said through your conceptual conditioning. Now, let’s explore the next step which is learning how to detach from that conditioning and be fully present with the customer. Eckhart Tolle, who wrote a very popular book, The Power of Now pointed out that there are only two things in this world…Space and things in space.

When we are born we have something within us which is analogous to a flash memory storage device (FMSD). At birth the device for the most part is empty. And then, throughout our lives every time we experience something or learn a new idea it is stored in our flash memory.

In addition to the FMSD, we have a psychological entity called a mind. The mind can also be referred to as the ‘I’, ‘Me’, ‘Ego’ or the “Little Voice’ inside your head. The purpose of the mind is survival and the survival of whatever it considers itself to be. Unfortunately and unconsciously, it has erroneously identified itself with the contents of the FMSD. So now when you are asked…”Who are you?” You will go to the FMSD and dump out some ‘things’ and say… this is who I am. For example, a download could be your name, nationality, family, school, football team, political views, religion, core values and beliefs. These are the ‘things’ you have identified yourself to be. You are so conditioned that your reaction to this statement maybe …”Of course this is who I am!” Bill Clinton in his address to the Ted Talks which can viewed on www.Ted.com described this identification with our beliefs and values the psychological plague of our times. He suggested rather than identify with our individual values and beliefs which keep us separate from each other we should identify with our common humanity.

According to Tolle there is another possibility. He asserts, that who we really are is not the ‘things’ in your FMSD but rather the ‘space’ which contains those ‘things’. This concept represents a major transformational shift in consciousness. To be able to observe that you have these ‘things’; and that you honor these ‘things’; and that you use these ‘things’ but you are not these ‘things’ requires a major shift in consciousness. If you can do this then you discover that who you are is space and not the things in the space.

The major barrier to experiencing this insight is that you need to detach from your identification with your FMSD i.e. your data base of thoughts. You need to surrender your point of view and let go of everything you believe to be true. You then listen to the world and everything in it from the space of ‘not knowing’. This is a major characteristic of a Master Listener and will be discussed in another blog.

You are now able to listen to another person’s communication without judging, assessing or evaluating it. You are fully present in the space of ‘Being’ which I refer to as the Broadband Connection to this moment of now. And, your response to that person’s communication does not come out of your conditioning but rather out of the space. The intelligence in the ‘space’ is far greater than the intelligence in your database of ‘things’.

Steven Covey points to this insight in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Habit number five is Seek First to Understand Rather Then to Be Understood. The job of the sales person is first to understand the customer’s world. You understand the customer’s world by momentarily giving up your world and entering into the customer’s world. Covey states that this is the most difficult habit to learn because it involves surrender which is defined as giving up of something completely after striving to keep it. And, giving up of one’s identity or point of view in the moment to recreate another person’s point of view initially, is not that easy.

In conclusion, I have pointed out that there is a distinction between ‘things’ and ‘space’. To achieve an awareness of ‘space’ you have to detach from the ‘things’ in your life. Once you can achieve ‘space consciousness’ you will notice that being a Master Listener is easy.

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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