Listen first. Act last.
The dark room is eerily quiet as picture after picture appears on the screen. There are sniffles, side conversations, moments of recognition and sadness. As the presentation continues, I think, what is their story? Who did they leave behind? What was their legacy? Each person has their own story to tell. While listening to others, we can hear their pains and joys and also understand what makes them tick.
A few months ago, I attended a conference specifically designed to bring leaders from across the country together to discuss benefits for firefighters. My goal for the conference was to listen and to hear what was important to them. I wasn’t there to contribute; I wasn’t there to sell anything. Just to listen and learn.
Insurance, while important, should come second. We need to start from the ground up.
If you want to know how you can help your clients or secure a sale, listen to them. Let them tell you about their daily pains and concerns. Soon, you’ll realize that you are not only learning more about your clients, but that they will be interested in learning more about you and the value you bring as well. The ability to address pain points is important.
Many times, we forget that the people we are talking to are just that: people. We become so consumed by the idea of making a sale or getting someone to agree with us that we forget that everyone has a story. Listening skills may be the most important ingredient for building strong relationships with your clients and prospects.
The average person says anywhere from 125 to 175 words per minute. If we are formulating our next thought during that time instead of actively listening to our clients, there’s a lot of information that can be missed. Most people only remember about 17% to 25% of the information they are listening to, which makes it crucial that you don’t become “most people.” Your ability to actively listen to someone could be the difference between a prospect choosing you as their agent or going to a competitor.
Want to learn more about the perks of active listening? Check out this article by Harvard Business Review. And, let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Tina Kerchner, Vice President, VFIS A&S Program Manager
Tina is a wine lover, mother, wife and outdoor enthusiast. When not working with incredible agents from across the country, she enjoys spending time hiking or riding dirt bikes on the numerous beautiful trails Pennsylvania has to offer.
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