Listening to a toddler can improve your interactions with clients

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It’s painful to not be understood. It hurts to not be heard. My son, as a toddler, could only use a few words to express himself. Some of his biggest meltdowns in life happened simply because he couldn’t communicate in a way that I understood.

But something magical happened when I laid on the ground and looked him in the eye. When I took enough time to follow his process, allowed him to take my hand and show me where he wanted to go or what snack he wanted from the fridge, we connected.

My wife and I had a major breakthrough in our parenting of our toddler. “We observed through some friends of ours the powerful parenting tool of giving options. Giving our son options means instead of saying, “We’re going now,” we simply ask, “Would you like to go now or in two minutes?” He usually defaults for the two-minute option, but the co-operation rate substantially improved when we started showing him we were listening.

When we take the time to understand and listen to each other as human beings, magic happens.

When we make options for our child, we make sure they’re clear, not overwhelming in their diversity. The options must move us in the direction we want to go. Communication in sales is no different than it is in parenting. Being able to listen, understand and diagnose a prospect’s situation is integral to making a deal happen. We don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world, we live in a Subway world. A place where we can go in and create whatever option we want for whatever type of sandwich we want. Extra, extra crispy bacon please!

Most importantly: Get to know your prospect and whether, or how, your product is a fit for their unique needs. Diagnose whether their personality is a fit for your corporate personality. Find out if the people and systems you have in place cater to the individual. Will they work well together or will they fight against each other?

Want more? Order your copy of Hustle: A Guide to the Ethical Art of Selling & Survival.

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