Psychologists have mastered the art of listening, building rapport and delivering solutions. So why aren’t business owners following their lead?
The art of listening is a powerful and underutilised tool when it comes to business and client acquisition.
When a business interacts with a potential customer, often, that person has a problem and are looking for a solution. More often than not, the business will have a very viable, maybe even perfect solution to solve that problem.
Industry Knowledge Muscle Flexing
Wanting to inform your potential clients is understandable. The more information you give them, the better they can understand the solution you offer, and, the more you sound like an expert.
But that approach has holes. Even if you know their problem well and have the perfect solution, if you don’t take the time to listen to the customer and make them feel understood, you won’t likely get the chance to provide your solution however good it is.
More often than not, customers who are being talked at and bombarded with information and knowledge muscle flexing, are more inclined to be either confused, overwhelmed or simply irritated at not being able to get a word in edgeways.
They just want to be understood
On the other hand, businesses that ask simple questions that assist in getting to the root of not only the problem itself but the emotional connection attached to that problem, resonate and connect with their audience.
It is not only possible but very likely, that a prospect could decide to do business with you before you have even gotten the chance to show any industry knowledge, simply by listening and encouraging them to talk about their problem.
More Listening, Less Talking
If you were to visit a psychologist, you would pay them a fee (likely a handsome one) and sit with them for an hour or so. In that time, the psychologist would only do a fraction of the talking while you would be yapping for most of your paid hour.
Why? Well if you visit a psychologist, it’s because you have a problem you would like to address. The psychologist has the skills to help you with that problem yet they don’t go about helping you by talking at you or delivering a thesis on human behaviour.
If they did, you would likely leave frustrated and never go back.
Communicating understanding is key
As you speak, the psychologist directs the conversation with well-placed questions that allow you to open up and expose not only the root of the problem but the impact that problem has on your life.
The information you give, allows the psychologist to create a profile of your problem. Before they get to discussing a way forward, however, their first goal will be to make you feel that you have been listened to and understood.
Once they have earned your trust and they are in a position to discuss a solution, they may very well tap into some complex theories on psychology, however, what you will hear is a solution that is easy to understand and makes you feel at ease.
Listen, Build Rapport, Connect
Psychologists are far fewer than most other professions, which is not surprising considering the educational years required. Given the level of knowledge they have on their field of study, they are armed with a huge amount of information that can help their audience.
Rather than flex their knowledge muscles and confuse their client, they know that they must first build rapport through listening and understanding. When the time comes to offer the solution, their client is ready to listen and it is delivered in an uncomplicated way.
If this entire article were to be distilled into a single paragraph it would be the one above.
Sit them on your couch
The next time you have the opportunity to speak to a potential customer, sit them down on your couch (figuratively speaking). Listen to what they have to say about their problem and encourage them to elaborate.
After a series of well-placed questions and open listening, you will have made them feel comfortable because you listened and understood. When it comes time to offer your solution, they’ll be ready for you to help them. Don’t undo your good work by flexing your industry knowledge muscle. Instead, keep it simple.
More than likely, you don’t have psychology credentials but if you own a business, you can take a leaf out of their book. Practice the lost art of listening. If they feel understood, they will want your help before you’ve even gotten to your solution.
Stephen is a passionate Brand Creator and Founder of Iconic Fox Brand Agency. With a background in both financial markets and design, he is well positioned on brand strategy and creative and is passionate about both. Stephen has been featured on Marketo, Hubspot, Inside Small Business, Creative Bloq and more for his expertise on brand strategy and creative.
He’s also a friendly chap so if there’s something you want to know about brand, he’d be happy to get into it with you