Business Success Or Failure Depends On How Well You Listen
If you think back to your own business experiences you’ll know that what I am about to tell you is absolutely true almost every single time. It’s only when you don’t pay attention to it that you get yourself and your business into challenging or disappointing situations.
In general, most people don’t listen. They only hear what they want to hear. Add to the fact that people just don’t listen, in today’s business world everyone is multi-tasking, into real time internet, social media, breaking news and have a zillion things on their mind all at the same time. Their minds are truly overloaded and pre-occupied. Which only adds to the lack of listening.
Back in 1970 there was a song called Signs by Five Man Electrical Band that reached number three on the Billboard charts according to Wikipedia. Maybe you recall it. In the chorus the lyrics go something like this: Sign, sign, everywhere a sign. Blocking out the scenery, breaking my mind. Do this. Don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign…
To play on the words somewhat, there are signs every day in business that you encounter telling you to do this or don’t do that. You are bombarded by signs. But do you really listen to what the signs are telling you?
Let’s look at a few examples – or shall I say, signs:
When considering doing business with someone do you listen to the words they use in print or verbally? The initial presentation over the phone goes well till toward the end of the call questions or comments cause you to pause and you find the need to further explain. You don’t give much more thought to the conversation till the proposal comes in. When you read it you wonder if the proposal is from the same person you recently had a phone conference with. They don’t match and then you start to replay the initial conversation over in your mind again. The clues were there. But did you listen?
Or you ask about what kind of results to expect if you work with someone and their response is filled with generalities. No specifics. Again, are you listening? Or do you move forward and start to work with them only to several months later with much money invested realize you don’t have any real substantial results. Yet they are telling you to give them more time and the results will come. Are you listening?
Or you may be interested in working with someone and initiate the contact either by phone – you get a voicemail – or by email. It takes days, even weeks, for them to respond. Are you paying attention to the signs of how your business relationship may be? Do you really want to work with someone who is not responsive and service oriented?
Or you receive a proposal that you expected to be personalized to your company’s needs only to find it is a boiler plate presentation. Or the proposal is filled with misspelled words. Obviously, not run through spellcheck. Do you want to work with someone who doesn’t pay attention to details? Are you listening for the signs of how your business relationship may be going forward? Do you really want to work with these people? Is this how you run your business? Or do you have higher expectations both from your own company as well as those you contract with to assist you with the success of your business?
Just because someone has a great website or was highly referred to you, doesn’t mean you should work with them. They have to prove their worth and their reputation to you. Are you listening? Is it the right fit for your business? It would be a mistake to put your business in their hands.
Always pay attention to what is being said and what’s not being said when you are dealing other business people. There is an old saying that actions speak louder than words. That’s true. But the words people use or don’t use will give you a picture of what your business experience is going to be with them. You decide if you like what you see, hear and read. Just remember to look for the signs. They are all around.