Tag Archives: targets

Supercharge Communication : 1. Listen Loudly

Supercharge Communication by continually perfecting and investing in EVERYTHING that you need to be effective at and are already good at…listen loudly to supercharge effective communication.

The following excerpts from Chapter 13 in “What’s Your Point” explain why continually perfecting the art of listening is a valuable, essential investment in effective communication for professional advisors and persuaders.

#1. How do you add value?

When your marketing, advertising, or branding message resonates with prospects and clients, they’ll accept it as true because you seem to understand them and their challenges. Once they meet you face-to-face or one-on-one online, will they remain sure you “get them?” Will they see you actively and respectfully paying attention to earn trust? Will it be evident to prospects and clients that you will adapt to their needs and all the other demands on their time, effort, money, and intelligence?

#2. Listening is not silent talking.

  • Listening is not silently criticizing what’s being said, making mental jokes, or thinking about how you’d say it better than the speaker who is sharing with you.
  • Listening is not waiting until it is your turn to talk and, in the meantime, concentrating on perfecting catchy phrasing or showing off in other ways.
  • Active listening is also not guessing what will be said and interrupting to finish sentences or provide a solution before the prospect or client explains what really concerns them and why.
  • Listening is not about you.

#3. How do differences matter?

Effective active listening always concentrates on how someone or their problem is different. This individualization is crucial to personal or customized service. Avoid lumping individuals into a general category. When you do, you’re giving them standard service which can not completely suit their needs. In fact, this is really substandard service since it is probably less than your pitch says you deliver.

Too often we listen for similarities. We search for ways to label an individual or group, or pigeon hole a need. In the multigeneration workplace, ageism in both directions (“too young” or “too old”) is rampant. Beware of your biases. Generational biases—yours and/or your clients’—compounded by stereotypes and ageism, can distort what is heard, that is, transforming it into what somebody who “looks that age” would mean.

For example, boomer is a general term for a very diverse group identified merely by their dates of birth. Boomer parents can have boomer children—it’s that diverse. However, references to boomers usually make them (almost 85 million in North America) seem like clones. Each boomer is unique. The group is a rich mosaic of diversity on many levels. The same diversity is true for millennials. If your target includes boomers or millennials, do you communicate with them, and about them, in ways that reflect this diversity?

#4. Why does what you do matter?

What is essential to earn the right to hear what prospects and clients want to share and more? They must quickly and relevantly see value in having you listen to them. When you meet a prospective client for the first time, you should be prepared to succinctly explain what you do.

In plain, jargon-free language, a Professional Benefits Strategy (PBS) sincerely expresses how you and your services solve relevant problems for target clients, from their perspective.

A PBS, memorably and relevantly, reveals where your value lies. The same care and clarity of communication and intent—achievable focus—should be evident at every meeting, every contact, not just the first. The thoughtful analysis that produces an effective introduction can also be applied to content for marketing, client retention, product/service development, business expansion….

#5. What does Active Listening—Listen Loudly—involve?

Active or effective listening combines respectful listening with accurate collection of data and impressions for future reference, placing privacy first.

(1) Active listening, coupled with attentive silence, reflect genuine interest and respect, and always represent powerful elements of your value to clients. While you listen to (or read) what prospects and clients want to communicate, your receptive attentionundistracted silence and no interruptions—is a vital ingredient in successful sharing. By listening intently, you learn exactly how they define the problem and its impact. Never underestimate the value of your attentive silence. Remember, no salesperson ever listened their way out of a deal.

(2) Combine active listening with professional interviewing techniques.  For example, strategic questioningthe deliberate use of questions to build rapport, gather information, and guide conversation—helps discover how to exceed expectations for each client. These details, including any client misconceptions, reveal which solutions may be most effective. The information and insight gathered reveal how to adapt products and services to client needs. This effort combines to create value-enriched extreme service excellence.

(3) Keep track of what you’ve heard or learned. Your procedures for recording client information and related data should emphasize:

  • Accurate comprehensive needs assessment
  • Reduced ambiguity for clients
  • Limited jargon and technical terminology
  • Appropriate documentation of decisions
  • Compliance with privacy regulations and legislation Above-industry standards for record-keeping and client education.

Summary:

Listen loudly! Client contact may involve phone conversations, meetings, texting, and online contact, but it must always highlight listening. Be engaged, enthusiastic, interested, and committed to remembering what you learn. Ask relevant questions, then listen attentively.

Listen Loudly Supercharge Example: Real Estate Professionals must be effective communicators every time they open their mouths, tap a key, contact a client…“Five Opportunities to Supercharge Sales Communication”posted soon.

WBECS: Learning from & with Coaches

To be excellent at what professional communicators—from advisors, architects, and digital developers to lawyers, brokers, and physicians—do best, we must never stop learning.

We not only strive to continuously learn about changes in our profession and related technology, but also about relevant changes in the lives, work, and businesses of our prospects, clients, and target markets.

That’s a lot of effort and investment to expend while also, each work day, engaging prospects, serving clients, running a practice or business, and having a life:

  • When opportunities arrive to improve communication prowess, raise professional standards, and allow professionals to learn from and with their peers and potentially within a target niche, that’s amazing.
  • When that opportunity is live and online—with interaction possible and no travel or inconvenience—that’s perfect.

For professional coaches around the world, the Annual World Business & Executive Coach Summit or WBECS (“webecs” as it fondly referred to) is both amazing and perfect.

WBECS organizers hope many of the 23,000 attending the complimentary WBECS Pre-Summit go on to participate in the Full Summit which reportedly provides weekly learning opportunities in flexible, interactive formats over the coming year.

Over 3 weeks, the Pre-Summit offers two or three 45-minute webinars a day, each designed to challenge, fascinate, and stimulate. I enjoy the range of professional speakers and the diversity of topics.

Unexpected “aha moments” pop up regularly as speakers reveal surprising aspects or dimensions of a seemingly-familiar topic or introduce new elements to the client-service dynamic.

As a professional communicator who lists coaches within my target niche, WBECS provides a high-standard insider look at coaches, coaching, and related challenges and opportunities. Bonus topics include business development and leadership.

Please let me share a few tidbits aimed at coaches, but valuable in many contexts. Each of these WBECS speakers made the highlighted comment within a high-content, thought-provoking webinar:

  • Opportunity Abounds: David Clutterbuck revealed the broad opportunity his latest research uncovered: Politicians may be the new big target. Politicians do not use coaches in spite of the fact that CEOs have come to reply on these professional sounding boards and productivity stimulators. Business opportunities are right in front of us. Don’t you mentally kick yourself when someone in your field steps forward with a brilliant idea that had been staring you in the face? [ https://www.davidclutterbuckpartnership.com/ ]
  • Intentional Learning: Michael Bungay Stanier, author of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More and Change the Way You Lead Forever, repeated the opening remarks he has become well-appreciated for: “How focused do you plan to be during this webinar?” Do you begin things you believe will be of value to you with this personal fresh-start? I’ve found declaring my intention to myself at the start of anything stimulates retention and assimilation. Thanks again, Michael. [ https://boxofcrayons.com/michael-bungay-stanier/ ]
  • Personal Branding: William Arruda explained his perspective on brand as consistent demonstration of your “unique promise of value.” Arruda reminded us that now the first meeting and first impression usually happen online, not face-to-face or voice-to-voice. As soon as your name is mentioned, you’re Googled. What is your answer to his compelling question: “What do you want to be known for?” [ https://williamarruda.com/ ]
  • Niche Development: Dorie Clark , who’s latest book is Entrepreneurial You, stressed that when you select a target niche suppress the tendency to attempt to envelope the entire community, profession, or sector you’ve identified. Instead, “go DEEP not wide.” [ https://dorieclark.com/ ]
  • Practice Expansion: Alisa Cohn emphasized the importance of a high closing rate (she’s surprised if she’s not 85% effective) to build your practice. An effective closing process, coupled with persistence and practice, which make delivery natural, ensures you attract the clients your practice is designed to serve. Cohn’s creatively-practical session sold the audience of coaches on the value of closing to clients and on the do-ability of this effective communication skill which is too often dodged by well-meaning professionals. [ https://www.alisacohn.com/ ]

Where do you get your inspiration and your insight into your prospects’ and clients’ needs?

Stand Out: Get The Jump On Spring!

How can you make this spring different for your targets?

How can you help them take advantage of unexpected changes and rise above seemingly undermining influences?

Most industries have seasonal patterns that are followed and addressed in annual marketing campaigns:

  • Your goal should be to remain a step ahead of the predictable. Can you see opportunities for setting new standards or revealing new goals?
  • Can you attract increased market share by redefining client goals and expectations for this season and following seasons?
  • Redefine the negatives of this season with new products or niches that address shifts in target lifestyles, workplaces, or family structures. Can you see new opportunity and benefits for your prospects and clients?

Or, look ahead and get the jump on the following seasons or the whole year. There are new opportunities out there to discover before you’re in the middle of others jumping on them.

For instance, if Facebook has been a fav of your targets, explore the changes in this platform to uncover opportunities to communicate your value to targets.

Each year, Facebook reports:

  • Increased daily active users (DAUs)
  • Increased mobile DAUs
  • Increased monthly active users (MAUs)
  • Increased mobile MAUs
  • Ongoing battles over privacy and lack of respect for user data

That’s just the change over one year! What’s next here or in any platform your target loves?

How was that reflected in your targets’ use of your Facebook contributions? What’s you’re involvement going to generate this year?

What could you help make happen this year for your targets?

If you don’t think ahead for prospects and clients who will? Wouldn’t you rather it were you?

For example, spring is traditionally accepted as the “big market” for real estate. In a blog I write for a client, my question was: “Are real estate buyers making a mistake when they wait for the ‘hot’ spring market with its price increases and multiple offers?”

This question and content has a double purpose:

    1. This query and the related content start the client’s clients—real estate and financial professionals—thinking differently about what they take for granted about this season and what they can do differently this year.

AND

    1. The question and content trigger fresh thinking and enhanced reception to new ideas in the professionals’ clients who could gain from thinking differently about their reactions to spring.

The ideas shared do not have to be “big” or outrageous. Sometimes, a gentle nudge is all that is needed to shift thinking into innovation mode.

FYI: The blog I write for this client deliberately builds on my work as a futurist, business strategist, and committed communicator to help real estate and related professionals and their prospects and clients think differently both about “Decisions & Communities.” This combined topic-title focuses on the real issues involved in real estate for professionals and their clients, not on rehashing the traditional.

Do spring and other seasons offer overlooked opportunities to cast new light on buying, selling, and user patterns for your industry, product, or services?

Can you see how to take a different perspective—drawn from a different profession, industry, or communication technique—to provide new insight, products, or services for helping target prospects and clients get the jump on spring and everything else?

FYI: If you’d like to be a buyer or seller, or a professional with a jump on the spring real estate market, visit “Decisions & Communities.”

Back to HOME… TheCatalyst.com