My resolution this year, on top of the usual get fit and healthy, etc. is to practice my skill at listening. I’m using an acronym that I find helpful: W.A.I.T. This stands for “Why am I talking?”
If you feel compelled to talk when the customer stops speaking, ask yourself why. If you fail to comment on what was just said, what might happen? If you don’t speak, perhaps they will add additional information. If you take a note instead of commenting, perhaps they will see you as more serious and business-like than most sales people If you nod your head but say nothing, perhaps they will feel heard and acknowledged and you will have avoided the potential trap of “fixing” the customer or “should-ing” them about their concerns.
So often I find myself talking or commenting on what someone says because I think it will show my empathy for their situation. I sometimes even say something dumb like “I know just how you feel” No, I don’t. Unless we are in someone’s identical situation, we don’t know exactly how they feel. We can only guess, and we may miss the mark completely. Remember we are all different in our core personalities and styles even though we are all human beings wired to form preferences emotionally before we apply logic and to doubt statements thrown our way.
If I have a legitimate reason for talking, I know I will get better results from asking a question, either for clarification or to begin exploring possible ways to help the customer achieve their desired outcome (like EQPA or useage questions). Questions invite conversation. Filling in the silence with comments or stories about your own “similar” experiences may just result in the customer feeling you are minimizing their concerns or being insincere.
So I am sharing this W.A.I.T. acronym with you and hope you and I all become better listeners as a result of asking ourselves: Why Am I Talking?
Happy New Year to all! May yours be healthy, happy, and successful.