Listen up; you can accomplish a lot in your business just by listening. I have to admit that sometimes I am a bad listener. When introduced to a new person I often forget their name seconds later or just totally blank it out. The truth is I enjoy talking to new people. I want to know their story; what they do, what they enjoy, where they have been and where they are going. When someone is introducing themselves instead of listening I'm often thinking of what question to ask them first. Once the conversation gets going I'm a great listener and can often recall the smallest details. I realized a long time ago how important listening is in business. Just through the simple process of listening you can accomplish a lot in business.
Do you go to a networking event or sales meeting and go right into a pitch about yourself and what you do? Are you attracting new clients? Think you could be doing better? See how I started with three questions there? (Ok 4 now). You should try it too, the results might surprise you. When I was taking sales coaching lessons one of the first things I learned was to stop telling people about you and start asking questions, tough questions. Continue to ask your prospect questions until you get the real answer to the problem you are facing. Here is an example that I might face as a bookkeeper.
Me: So Mr. Business why are we here today?
Mr. Business: My bookkeeping is a mess.
Me: Oh ok why is that a problem?
Mr. Business: I can't file my taxes.
Me: I see, but taxes are a long way off aren't you worried about your bookkeeping today?
Mr. Business: No I don't look at it on a regular basis.
Me: What if proper bookkeeping could make you more money?
Mr. Business: Bookkeeping doesn't make money, sales do.
Me: True but how can you measure how sales are doing if you don't have up to date books?
Mr. Business: Hmmm.
Me: What if I could build a bookkeeping system that you could use as a tool to better run your business? Would you be interested in that?
In my example I asked a question every single time. All I wanted to do was show Mr. Business how I could add value to his business. I didn't want to appear like every other bookkeeper he has interviewed in the past, I wanted to stand out. Ask your prospects questions until you get to the real source of the problems they are facing.