Studies have shown that people retain just 25% of what they hear due to jam-packed schedules and a lack of understanding about how to effectively listen. One of the most impactful ways to increase lead conversion and boost sales is to ensure that your teams on the front lines of product promotion have a full understanding of how to communicate with different types of customers. Listening Intelligence means using cognitive-based information to learn how people hear, filter and interpret data in order to help alleviate any obstacles to effective communication. By learning the details of how the four main listening styles show up in the world, you and your sales force can gain a competitive edge over other organizations in your industry.
Everyone has a preference for how they listen and cognitively manage information. In this post, we are focusing on Reflective Listeners. This type of listener filters what they hear through their own knowledge, experience, and purposes. Because this type of listener will readily consider how your product or service will benefit them personally (i.e. whether it will make them more productive, move their role at an organization forward, etc.) they make ideal prospects for members of your sales teams.
Recognizing the Habits of Reflective Listeners
They are Primarily Listeners
Since highly reflective listeners are constantly checking incoming information against their own knowledge and experience, they often appear to turn inward when others are communicating with them. You may notice that they are perfectly content letting you do all the talking. Their relative quiet isn't a sign of disinterest, but rather of in-depth consideration regarding the information you are presenting. They favor silent reflection before providing you with any insights about what they are thinking. Unlike conceptual listeners, reflective listeners never “think out loud.” Once they have sifted through all the information in their heads, they consciously consider how to express what they want to say, then tend to ask well-reasoned questions, or offer strong opinions backed by their own knowledge and experience.
Their Body Language is Introspective
You may notice reflective listeners are apt to create physical separation from you, especially during the initial parts of your interaction. For instance, they may lean back in their chair with arms crossed, or even stare up toward the ceiling while they compare your thoughts and words against their own library of experience. They may gaze off into the distance, tilt their head to the side, and appear generally disconnected because they are engaging in a kind of 'deep thinking' to fit your product benefits into their current needs. Once they are ready to engage in conversation, they will then 'reconnect' physically by sitting up and leaning forward.
Effectively Bonding with Reflective Listeners
Learn Their Needs
A highly reflective listener is most interested in how your product will meet his or her practical needs. Knowing this will help you properly position your goods and services. While they do tend to be primarily listeners rather than speakers, inquiring about which benefits of your product resonate most with their work priorities is a great way to connect. They would also tend to be the type of listener who is most impressed by any background research you've done on their professional responsibilities so that you can effectively explain to them how your product meets their needs.
Address Their Concerns Fully
Highly reflective listeners tend to take each piece of communication that makes it through their 'experience' filter, and link it together to form a chain of knowledge that they use to make decisions. If they feel that their concerns aren't adequately addressed, this puts a 'kink' in that chain which can leave them feeling unsure about moving forward. This is why it's so important to acknowledge and attend to any concerns they present to you. If you don’t know the answer to a question, the worst thing you can do is try to deflect or talk around it. Reflective Listeners will see right through you. Instead, admit your uncertainty and commit to researching the answer. This lets them know that you are concerned about supporting their desire to make a fully-informed decision. Ultimately, reflective listeners want to know that your product or service will help advance the goals they are personally concerned about. Examples from our own experience at ECHO include a recently-hired HR representative who wanted to make a unique impact in her first few months, a potential donor to a client company who wanted to hear exactly how each dollar would be spent on programs he valued, and a marketing manager who wanted to see how our services would help him and his team meet their upcoming quota.
Understanding the Perks of Proper Communication with Reflective Listeners
They are Subject-Matter Experts
A highly reflective listener is likely to thoroughly research all applications of your products and services before deciding whether to move forward. In a way, they will tend to become subject-matter-experts of your own offerings. They don’t make light decisions, and their co-workers likely know this about them. Therefore, the reflective listener’s buy-in will often serve as a stamp-of-approval for others in similar roles who may look to them for guidance. When asked about your offerings, your new client will naturally disseminate practical and positive information, giving a potential extra boost to your sales portfolio.
They Help You Build Real-World Credibility
A Highly reflective listeners' tendency to optimally organize information in order to succeed in their role means that their work will reflect positively on any of your products and services that they utilize. They act as a kind of 'positive influencer' who intrinsically builds a case for your offerings so that you can continue to generate revenue long after your initial sales conversion. Having them in your corner helps ensure that new clients turn into satisfied, long-term, and loyal customers.
Why It Matters
The latest research shows that small and medium-sized businesses with 100 employees or more can save nearly $525,000 annually just by offering and properly implementing communication tools that help members of their organization effectively engage with clients and co-workers alike. By assisting your sales teams to better understand the listening cues and concerns that their customers bring to the table, you help increase the type of understanding that leads to accelerated company growth.
Our Listening Intelligence Assessment was created by leading scientists, psychometricians, and industry experts who utilized the latest cognitive research to create a multi-dimensional measurement of listening styles in order to set your teams up for optimal success. We also offer a Certification Training Program to teach you how to coach your sales agents through understanding and properly applying our cognition-based Listening Profile data in order to form more long-term, profitable relationships with their customers.
Contact us today to learn how we can assist you in advancing your team communications forward, and help you leverage these improvements to increase sales goal attainment, team productivity, and organizational revenue.