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Listening, Selling, and Healthcare

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Are you listening to what your customers or patients want and need? Or are you just hearing their words? Hearing and listening are very different. Hearing is simply to function of sound waves hitting the eardrum and we notice (or we don’t). Listening, on the other hand, is an active endeavor in which we focus and pay attention to what we hear. It takes work to listen. It doesn’t take much work to simply hear.

Have you ever been talking with a sales person or a doctor and you keep trying to get question answered, but that person continues talking, telling what you need to do or buy and why? When that happens, he or she is just not listening to you. Or, when the person engages in pseudo listening (pretending to listen) but really is waiting for his or her turn to tell you what they want you to do or buy?

Listening is important in our personal relationships, our work relationships and, yes, when we sell for a living or heal for a living, the relationship we are trying to create with the potential buyer or the patient. Having and using a “script” that seemingly needs to be said in its entirety is not likely to lead to long-term relationships. Relationships are created by give-and-take, by conversations, by listening (not just hearing) one another, THEN effectively responding. They are NOT build by waiting for our turn to talk and not focusing on the other person’s words and nonverbal facial and body gestures (yes, we listen with our eyes, too). Scripts are great for acting, not for selling and providing care to those who need it.

This is important in sales and in healthcare. How can a salesperson or a healthcare professional find out what the potential buyer’s or the patient’s needs are if they are busy trying to TELL rather than listening? It is also important to ask, then to respond, not just to keep trying to get that script out and close the sale or go on to the next patient. Effectively listening to the potential buyer or the patient may well help to sell more or to arrive at a more appropriate treatment plan.

If you sell products or services or if you provide healthcare treatment, it’s imperative to keep in mind that most folks don’t like it when the person they are dealing with doesn’t take the time to listen to their needs. Think about the relationships you have in your own life. Others want you to listen to them and you, most likely, want them to listen to you. Clients and patients are no different. For the best results: Listen first. Reply second.

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