Simon Says (the Skill of Listening)
by Rayfil Wong
When I was young, I remember a group of five family friends would play Simon Says after a great diner. The object of the game was to only act out the action when the team leader says “Simon Says.” The team leader would say, “Simon says jump up and down five times.” In this case, we would have to jump up and down five times. On the other hand, if the leader says “jump five times” without saying Simon says then the person is eliminated form the game. The game is played until one person remains standing and is claimed the winner.
This game reminds me the importance of listening. When I was working Sysco foods, the nation’s largest food distributor I actively listened to take sales orders. The chef would shout out “three sixteen ounce cups, four pounds of twenty count shrimps, and have the driver delivery the goods before Thursday seven a.m.” I had to be actively listening because ordering and delivering the wrong products can cost me my client relationship with the chef.
“Being an active listener, also signals to my clients that I care about what they say, how they say it, and when they say it.”
When my clients say, “don’t you think your price is too high” in an angry tone with his brow in the air, I can read his tone, body language and ask questions about his main concern. I may say, “which products do you think are too high and are they any other concerns Mr. Burger, I am not here to place one order and leave, I want a long term relationship with you.”
Additionally, I am an active listener that pays attention to my client’s personal lives. When I was working for the food distributor company, I would say, “how was your weekend?”
My clients such as Mr. Burger would tell me his high school daughter Jenny made the winning shot in the basketball game or that he will have a bad weekend because his pessimistic mother ‘n law will be in town the following week.
When I come through Mr. Burger’s restaurant the next week, I would ask, “how was your weekend despite your mother ‘n law being in town?” Clients take notice when a salesman care more about them than just winning their business. I have noticed that many clients often open up their personal lives once the trust and relationship exist.
Image to remember: Simon Says
Sales tip to remember: active listening is a skill that builds good client relationship. Listening, remember, and recalling the words that the client says can open doors.