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Do You Listen to Learn?

As I write this, I have been on back to back phone calls for the past few days. All different agendas, topics, people, internal vs. external, you get my point. Some calls I led, some I was an active participant and others I was fairly silent, yet a supportive, team member. In retrospect I am asking myself, did some of the participants listen? I know they were very vocal, interactive, etc. but did they listen? I know they heard what was said. But I’m not really sure they listened. And yes, there is a big difference.

Not going to lie, my teenage daughter does not listen! She swears she does, but no. I can tell her very specifically the day’s agenda. What we are doing, where we are going, what time we are leaving, she smiles says “Ok, momma,” and goes about her business. Not kidding, less than 20 minutes later she says, “What are we doing today?” WHAT?? So I say, “We just talked about this 15 minutes ago when we were standing in the kitchen.” And she says, “Oh yeah we did, but I wasn’t listening.” And in my head, I say “Obviously!” So she heard me talking. She heard words come out of my mouth. She heard what she wanted to hear, but she did not listen. And in fairness, I do the same thing to her sometimes. She gets in the car after school and practice, going 1000 miles per hour! And if you know Nikki, that’s slow! HA! She talks about things like an intense racquetball match. Here, there, here, there, WATCH OUT something is coming right between your eyes!…Non-stop and without a breath! All the while, I have had a long day, been on the phone, working on financial statements, client reviews, building new spreadsheets and I’m just plain tired. I’m still thinking about the things I need to do, oh shoot – “what’s for dinner?”. So am I really listening to her? No, not really. I chime in on occasion so she feels like I’m tuned into her, but thinking back I didn’t get 50% of what she was saying. I didn’t learn what made her so fired up that day because I wasn’t listening to her. I heard that there was drama in the cafeteria at lunch time but I didn’t listen or learn why or what happened.

Ok, Throwback Thursday (#tbt) moment, remember when the teacher on Charlie Brown would talk? “Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah…” A perfect metaphor for my point. Not one kid was listening to the teacher. They didn’t learn anything in class. Did you ever see them learning? They heard noise. That’s it!

If you are a current Bild student, I know we coach you weekly on the inquiry, follow up, close to the agreed upon next step, building the relationship, etc. Now how do you do that? Yes, you use our coaching tools -– connection sheets, visit planning, systems flow checklist, etc. That’s the easy part – using the tools. But how do you know what to write or place on the tools? You have to listen to the prospect, their family, the referral source. You can’t just hear what they tell you. You must listen, learn about their fears, accomplishments, and loves. As the rule says, you learn to listen and you listen to learn. Listening is how you learned about Mr. Hamilton’s family lake house that has been around for five generations, how he LOVES classic cars and his favorite movie is Cool Hand Luke with Paul Newman. Listening is what makes a connection. Listening is what puts them at ease. Listening is what closes the deal.

So I challenge you to listen. Not just to the prospect so you can get the move in. Not just on the conference call about the five year plan. Not just to your child. Listen to the words of your favorite song. Listen to the silence of a beautiful summer day. Listen to your gut. Whatever it is LISTEN to it! LEARN from it! And enjoy it!

Written by Jenn Cox, COO at Bild & Company.

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