So much of our training and our engagement strategies involve our talking. We’re taught how to pitch our solutions. We’re given scripts outlining what we should say to our customers. As managers, we too often get into “tell” mode.
Even when we ask questions, they are carefully constructed to elicit the answers we want. Alternatively, we listen for triggers to talk more.
The problem is that talking crowds out our ability to listen and truly hear.
It’s obvious, we know when we talk we aren’t listening—and perhaps that’s really our goal. Perhaps we don’t really care about what the customer is trying to achieve. Perhaps we don’t really want to understand their problems.
Perhaps, we don’t care about the development and learning of our people. Perhaps all we care about is that they do what we say they should do.
Perhaps we understand so little about our customers and their businesses that if we listened we wouldn’t understand what they are saying, why it’s important, and what we could do about it.
Perhaps we talk because listening and engaging our customers in two way conversations is so difficult. It demands the best from us in learning and understanding.
But our success isn’t measured by how much we talk. Our ability to create meaningful value with our customer or our people isn’t based on how much we talk.
In reality, our ability to create value with our customers and people is based on how well we listen, hear, and learn. Our ability to learn what the customers or our people are trying to achieve is based on our ability to let them talk. Until we know what they want to achieve, why it is important to change.
While we are trained what to say, how to talk, how to handle objections, how to close. It turns out those aren’t very helpful to customers, consequentially, not helpful to our ability to achieve our own goals.
The answer is simple.