Articles From Mark Jeffries View Profile

Share this Article
  • Listening for Progress

    Mark Jeffries, Listening for Progress

    Listening for Progress
    By Dean Lindsay  - Author of The Progress Challenge

    As Freshway Foods Sales Professionals, we need to listen as if our lifestyles depended on it, because they do.  Those who choose to truly listen to others will always create opportunities to help others progress and we progress as we help others progress.  I don’t mean “listen” as in taking in sounds and passively processing them.  To be able to deliver sales and service, we must LISTEN with all we’ve got.   This is a basic but sometimes challenging principle to consistently put into practice. It means that, for the duration of our contact with the prospect, distributor, broker or customer, we step outside of ourselves – our own needs, our every preconception – and attend entirely to that customer and their needs.  

    “No man every listened himself out of a job.” – Calvin Coolidge

    Everyone wants to feel that they are significant and have meaningful things to share.  Listening helps us treat others as if they were the most important people on the planet because – in their minds – they are.  Good listeners absorb and reflect on what they hear.  They are active in the listening process.  This requires energy and motivation, because listening is more than just hearing.  To truly be in a position to deliver superior service, we must become active listeners rather than passive hearers.  

    Seven Laws of Listening for Progress:

    1. Focus, Focus, Focus
    How often do you catch yourself thinking about some unrelated issue when you should be listening?  

    Business philosopher Jim Rohn is quoted as saying, “One of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is the gift of your attention.”  Rohn is right.  Solid listening involves care, common sense, and courtesy.  Often, our lack of patience or our desire to hear ourselves speak encourages us to forget about courtesy and we end up shutting down and/or disrespecting the speaker.  Other times we become so fixated on our own POV that we forget to focus on listening to what the person is saying.  

    Sometimes our motivation to actively listen is not all that high.  We think we can get by without really focusing.  These are huge mistakes.  The ability to understand and value what customers are saying is critical.  So be determined to focus on and understand completely what others are trying to communicate.  

    A good way to stay focused is to continually ask ourselves: What is this person sharing with me that can help me solve their problems, accomplish their goals, help them progress? 

    2. Don’t get distracted…
    …by other people’s nearby conversations or office noise.  Work to think only about the present conversation.  It is close to impossible to uncover how we can help when we are preoccupied with previous conversations or unfinished tasks.

    3. Ask Probing for Progress Questions
    Many sales professionals forget to ask probing questions and then listening for ways to show how they can be progress for the other person.

    In the medical profession, it is known that prescription without diagnosis is malpractice. The same is true for Freshway Foods Sales Professionals.  We must ask a variety of open-ended questions to diagnose the situation, so our recommendation (prescription) will meet the need. 

    “The wise man is not the one who gives you the right answers,but the right questions.”-- Claude Levi-Strauss

    The most powerful way to uncover how we can ‘be progress’ for prospects, distributors, brokers, and customers is to ask open-ended questions.  These questions commonly include the basics of:

    - Who
    - What
    - Where
    - Why
    - When
    - How

    Do not ask questions in rapid-fire succession.  This is not a Dragnet interrogation or a time for cross-examination.  Nor is it a time to relive your glory days on the debate team.  Avoid asking questions that are manipulative, hostile, confrontational, or insulting.  Every question you ask makes a statement about you and Freshway Foods.  Only ask questions that show you are competent and that you care.  Be interested.  It makes no sense to ask questions if you are not interested in the answers. 

    “Good questions are far more difficult than good answers.”-- Persian Proverb  

    4. Take ‘Listening for Progress Notes’ 
    It is a mistake to totally trust our memory with data that may be important to progress.  

    Here are the ABCs Taking ‘Listening for Progress Notes’:

    1. Write notes in words and phrases rather than complete thoughts because our listening ability is impaired while we are writing. Remember -- we cannot EFFECTIVELY do two things at the same time.  
    2. Read notes as soon as possible to make sure you understand what you’ve put down on paper and to fill in the blanks.  
    3. Review these notes before the next contact with the customer. 

     

     

    5. Restate in Own Words
    Repeating back (as clarifying questions or tentative statements) what we think we’ve heard the other person say helps avoid mind-misreading errors.  Good clarifying questions also offer the person a chance to rephrase their thoughts and say precisely what they mean.

    6. Pause for Progress
    This is a little different, but give it a whirl -- Look directly at the person (or close your eyes when on the phone – except when driving) and when the contact stops speaking, count to two (in your mind!) before you speak.  

    Committing to this brief pause:

    1. helps you avoid interrupting the other person, who may have only paused to gather his or her thoughts.  
    2. establishes that what has just been shared was worth contemplation.
    3. gives your brain time to digest the information and ask a good clarifying question or make a comment.  

    7. Four and No More
    Discipline yourself to uttering no more than four sentences in a row without stopping.  This ensures that others will have the opportunity to express themselves.  

    Two ears, one mouth.  You know the saying. 

    Go Freshway Foods.

    Be Progress.


    Dean Lindsay is a sought after speaker and the author of two popular business books, The Progress Challenge: Working and Winning in a World of Change and Cracking the Networking CODE: 4 Steps to Priceless Business Relationships.  

More Articles From Mark Jeffries » How a single phrase can define your year
Share this Article
X

FIND A SPEAKER

TESTIMONIALS

Testimonials
  • “Thank you guys it was a pleasure working with you.... You made the whole process easy. Thanks again”
    CableNation
  • "We loved our speakers. Thanks to you and your team for your outstanding service and thank you for your patience!"

    National Association of the Blind
  • The event was EASY Cake! and it went over very very well.  Thank you so much for the help and organization, it made my life very easy. 
    Boys & Girls Club
  • "I appreciate your recommendations.  In addition, you are always a pleasure to work with and understand the pains of an over worked meeting plann...
    Milliman
  • Thanks to Richard and Jo for all the coordination. Another homerun from Executive Speakers Bureau!  
    Wisconsin Hospital Association
  • We could not have done it without you.  Thank you for the outstanding suggestions.  The speakers were by far the best we have ever had.
    FedEx
  • "I wanted to share with you feedback of my experience in working with Executive Speakers Bureau.. Very responsive and detail oriented.  When I wa...
    Amdocs
  • I’ve used the services of a number of speakers bureaus in the past. However, my current experience working with the Executive Speakers Bureau ha...
    Intel
  • "OMG Richard! As always you make me look like a rock star. Every single speaker we selected hit it out of the park. Thank you again. Can't even say wh...
    Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Assn.
  • "As I mentioned before, your engagement model was incredibly easy to work with, and I know we came to you on short notice!  I would highly recomm...
    Capitol One
  • "Richard, Your ability to put me in front of just the right group again and again, is nothing short of amazing. You work your tail off, you sweat the ...
    Alan Hobson
  • "My mind was very much at ease knowing that Jack Uldrich was so well prepped.  I will definitely use your agency again."  
    EAIE
  • "Your tenacity and persistence in staying in touch with us is a model example of good salesmanship and partnering.  I will be using you as an exa...
    Schneider Electric
  • "It was a great pleasure to work with you in making this event a success. Your professionalism, attention to detail and response to all my questions a...
    Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Our bank has held an annual business and economic conference for the past 9 years.  We have worked with Executive Speakers every year and I have ...
    First Midwest Bank
  • Thanks to you, Jo and the rest of your team.  You are the BEST.  Knowing you are behind a speaker allows us the luxury of concentrating on o...
    Ohio Hospital Association
  • Thank you to both of you for everything surrounding Mr. Will as our special guest. I suspect, soon, I will be in touch regarding our next event. 
    Oxford Financial
  • "I want to thank you for helping with our Principals Day event. Marshall Goldsmith was excellent. Not only is Marshall the consummate professional, be...
    Burns & McDonnell
  • "Thanks to you and Jo for all your efforts.  Connie Podesta and Roger Dow were great!"   
    National Apartment Association
  • "This year’s speaker line-up at our Summer Meeting was the best yet. We knocked it out of the park. Thanks for all your help securing such excel...
    North Carolina Hospital Association
  • "Everyone loved Bob and he was so nice on site. Thank you for all you did. The process was so easy and we will definitely work with you again next yea...
    NBC
  • "I LOVE this list that you sent me! I emailed several different places on Tuesday an...
    CoreLogic
  • Everything went really well and we really enjoyed having Jack Uldrich as our speaker!  He was entertaining and funny and provided great examples....
    Novo Nordisk
  • The Nebraska Hospital Association along with numerous other state hospital associations have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Executive Speak...
    The Nebraska Hospital Association
  • "The group that I work with to obtain all of my keynote speakers is Executive Speakers Bureau and I can tell you that I don’t like working with ...
    Indiana Youth Institute
  • "You made my job so much easier! You are the only bureau I will use."     
    Sigma Systems
  • "Let me just say again, what a pleasure it is to work with you and ESB. You really make it harder for others to reach the bar."
    ASTD
  • You ladies really are the BEST!  After this event I am going to be on the hunt for keynote speakers in May.  I really want to work with you ...
    ICMI
  • I want to thank you for all of your assistance you and Jenny were wonderful. If it had not been for you sending me suggestions I would not have found ...
    West Virginia Tourism
  • "Thank you so much for all your help in putting this together on such short notice. I will definitely use your services again in the future."
    Applied Materials
  • "I shared with Kaplan [Mobray] that I had never had this type of experience with ANY vendor I have worked with in the past. Your responsiveness to urg...
    Gates Corp.
  • "My entire team has enjoyed the experience of working with you and ESB more than words can express. Everything was handled in a professional and timel...
    Cregger Company
  • "Let me tell you that the ESB team and Christine's responsiveness, follow up, proactivity, industry knowledge, and overall customer service was phenom...
    Clear Link
  • We truly appreciate the excellent support and attention to detail we have received from Executive Speakers Bureau.  They have provided us with so...
    IBM
  • "We not only went 3 for 3 but I'd say they were all home runs! Thanks for your help on the speakers. It was a key and very positive component of our c...
    Chem-Dry
  • "I will be sure that all involved know what a wonderful resource you have been. The universe smiled on me when I discovered Executive Speakers and you...
    Ocala Eye
  • Bridgeworks was awesome!!! Great feedback from all!! Thanks for all of your collaboration and positive we'll use you in the future.  
    Johnson & Johnson
  • As always, you deliver excellent service. Thanks!
    Camden National Bank
  • "WOW, is all I have to say and thank you!  Our event was a huge success and you never steer me wrong, both David Cottrell and Ryan Estis were exc...
    ICMI
Need Suggestions? Have Questions?

Need Suggestions? Have Questions?

Call us to discuss how we can help find the right speaker for your organization.

Get Ideas in 2 Hours or Less

Please fill in information below

Executive Speakers Bureau consistently receives praises about our speed and efficiency. From the beginning of your event planning, our extensive online speaker database and resourceful staff allow us to quickly equip you with the best speaker for your event.

Need a last minute speaker? No worries. Our speed and efficiency help us give you ideas for speakers in two hours or less.


Privacy by SafeSubscribeSM