Monday, November 5, 2007

I See What You're Saying.

Perhaps the hardest thing for many people to learn is the art of listening . Hopefully by knowing how to ask the right questions, and observing body language, our listening skills will improve and we will be able to serve our customers better.
GramEgram:At my office, I decided to create my own 'Art of Listening 'ABC's' . I keep a basket of miniature building blocks with letters on them on the coffee table by the seating arrangement. When I chat with customers, quite often one of the people will ‘fiddle’ with the blocks. That person usually has their head down and is preoccupied with sorting and arranging the little blocks…while the other person appears more attentive. It is easy to conclude that the person preoccupied with the blocks might need a little extra TLC to make them feel more comfortable. Amusing observation: Some people will line up all the blocks, either letter side down or visa versa. Others will attempt to use the letters to spell words…and some ambitious types (engineers?) will attempt to build something with them ! Kids who accompany their parents (and are obviously bored) get a kick out of creatively spelling words like 'For Sale','Cheap','Buy Now'..or 'DON'T DO IT'...and other humorous comments.

If you plan to ask the right questions and want to listen attentively, why not try to first establish a comfortable environment. Combining the right questions with skillful listening will enable you to understand your customers better.
Well-known trainer and speaker Dr. Tony Alessandra of La Jolla, California, shares these tips on improving your listening skills.
Tips for Better Listening
*Do you make eye contact with the speaker?
*Do you use physical or verbal cues to show you're listening?
*Do you ask clarification questions?
*Do you give the speaker your undivided attention?
*Do you avoid interrupting or contradicting?
*Can you tolerate brief moments of silence?
*Can you restate what has been said to you?

*Listen for psychological needs. Watch for subtle clues that indicate needs such as security, excitement, or acceptance.
*Listen for the main theme. Analyze how specific facts that the speaker states support, or do not support, what the speaker is getting at.
*Be sensitive to your own emotional biases. Don't stop listening if the speaker says something that you disagree with or that offends you.
*Take notes. Keep them brief, but don't count on your memory alone.
*Create a relaxed, uninterrupted atmosphere. Then, let the speaker tell the whole story before you jump in. *Avoid distractions that keep you from focusing on the speaker.
Adapted from "Listening Your Way to More Sales" by Janice Alessandra and Dr. Anthony Alessandra, Washington Area REALTOR®, August 1988.
Resource: Realtor Magazine Online
REALTOR® gramEpat Technorati Tag Real Estate

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