“Communication is not saying something; communication is being heard.”
– Frances Hesselbein (Click to Tweet This!)
A common frustration surfaces when I work with seasoned sales and customer service teams. “Why,” they ask me, “is it so difficult today to get prospects and customers to hear us?”
The reason, simply stated, is everyone is overwhelmed … including you. Endless to-do lists make us all short-sighted; we “can’t see the forest for the trees” and this often makes us unable to hear, consider or embrace new ideas.
What can you do to be heard? How can you interrupt this widespread myopia and help your prospects and clients understand your value?
Visualize yourself completely immersed in a project. It has a deadline; you are determined to get it done and move on to the next item on your list. And then … the phone rings. The number is not one you recognize but you answer anyway, maybe out of curiosity, maybe it’s an automatic response.
On the other end is someone you don’t know. They start talking about themselves – their new product, their latest offer or the email they sent you recently. This does not entice you to keep listening. In fact, it motivates you to end the call as quickly as possible so you can return to your single focus – moving through the day’s priorities.
But what if you answer and immediately hear that the call is about you. What if the caller accurately describes a problem or challenge you are having, maybe one on your to-do list, and offers a solution? What if they specifically mention how you’ve worked together in the past or details of your last purchase? What if they say you are entitled to more from them – service, support, product – and they are calling to help you take advantage?
When we hear that a call is about us, we listen.
Here’s an example: Recently I was at my desk later than usual when a call came in from the U.S. I have clients there who are sometimes unaware of time zones, so I answered. On the other end was a friendly, energetic man who started speaking to me about a purchase I made in October when I was in San Francisco. He knew everything about my order, told me he was calling a select group of customers to offer them something special, and so on.
Did I know I was being sold? Absolutely. But did he grab my full attention? Yes, he did. Even more importantly, I had recently run out of the product and was wishing I had more. Did I want to spend the money right then, on that phone call? No, absolutely not. Did I? You bet.
He created an experience that was all about me. He kept me engaged with quick stories about other customers and the product line. He focused on my needs … and he got the sale.
When someone is interested in us, we will listen. Craft your phone calls, making sure your prospects and clients hear, quickly and easily, that your call is about them, not you.