Adopting a curious mindset can help you listen more when meeting with your customers, but it’s still challenging to focus on listening instead of explaining. Here’s a quick tip to help to make listening a little easier.
If you followed my advice from a previous article and tried to become a better listener by getting curious and assuming nothing with your customers, then you know how exhausting it can be to listen. It’s much easier to talk about your product, give advice, and share your own experiences than to listen and ask questions that dig deeper into your customer’s problem.
Given the amount of effort it takes to listen, identify a routine that you can follow immediately before each discovery conversation with a prospective customer. For me, this routine involves blocking out at least ten minutes before the conversation that I can use as needed to prepare for the call.
I use the first minute of the break to check-in on how I’m feeling and to ensure that I’m not carrying over emotions or a pace from earlier in the day. This allows me to be more aware of and responsive to the customer’s tone.
I then use the rest of the time to address any of my creature comforts. We’ve all had meetings where we have a physical discomfort like hunger or a headache, which make listening even more challenging and will diminish your performance. It may seem trivial, but these physical distractions can have a significant impact.
What works for you may be a little different than my routine, but make sure to create a plan that will prepare you to listen. Listening will still be daunting at times but you’ll succeed more often if you prepare yourself for the challenge.