How often do you listen deeply to your clients?
- Putting your personal agenda secondary
- Taking your business and financial goals off the table
- Where you listen to your people like it’s the first time you have ever worked with a client
- And you are open to hearing the unfiltered truth
Let’s keep it real. It’s HARD. Because we have agendas. Bills to pay. Financial goals to reach.
But it’s a valuable practice that can help you start nailing MORE financial goals.
Check out an “aha” I had recently. I listened to attendees at a workshop I delivered. And it really opened my eyes to how best to serve them.
I was invited to deliver a workshop, “How to Start a Business”. It was a local community group of woman and I was AMPED. Overjoyed. Totally excited to work with the group.
Why? Because I’ve sat on the other side for dozens of these type of workshops. And, I thought I knew what topics would be interesting and valuable for the group. Things that would be real action steps. Rather than keeping them on the “Someday I’ll start” business track. Like:
- How do you create your first product/service without spending alot?
- Or what is the key skill that many first time entrepreneurs avoid learning?
- Or how do you find customers after you have exhausted the friends and family list?
I dove in deep during my brainstorming and prep stages. I was ready to give the real deal. Because my goal was to have the audience walk away with solid “how tos”.
But one of the things I’ve learned from delivering workshops – get to know your people when you start. Don’t assume anything. Find out who they are. What makes them tick. And what they want.
So I did a deep dive. Asked them why they attended. Made each attendee get honest and created a safe space so, they could share their truth.
I was totally surprised to learn why this group attended. They weren’t overwhelmed with too many ideas. Or stuck with too much info.
They came because someone invited them. Someone who believed in their ideas. A handful of the attendees were already in business but they didn’t call themselves entrepreneurs or small business owners. Even though they had customer lists and earned real money.
So, you know what I did, right? Y’all I flipped my workshop outline on a dime. Tossed out my original agenda. Added a new juicy discussion topic. Incorporated a game that proved to the attendees that they already knew the basics of sales. Rewrote my top 10 list so that I could spend more time on entrepreneurial leadership and mindset.
I watched a few “ahas”. Saw some moments of clarity. And I knew I had made a connection when I was asked to deliver another workshop next month. Yessss!!!! #thankyou
However, let me be honest. As a workshop facilitator/trainer, I have learned how to listen to my audiences. I don’t always do this in my own business.
And I hear it frequently from other service based businesses. We rather sell what we know our clients need or the type of work that leaves us jazzed.
But that may not be what the clients want.
Now, we can debate about “needs” vs “wants” for hours. But my take-away was that listening to the exact words that clients use is a powerful activity. I literally wrote down what they shared. And didn’t filter it.
It opened up a new space for me to work from. I delivered the end product (the workshop) from what they wanted. And nailed the experience because it wasn’t about my agenda.
Can I encourage you to try this practice? In your upcoming conversations with prospects and clients, step back and listen. Ask open ended questions about what people are having problems with. Stop filling your talk with industry language or your expertise. Find out exactly where your people are and how they describe their situation.
Be present to what they say.
When you do this, you’ll gain insights into their core needs, desires, concerns. It will feel less like selling and more like serving. No fanfare. No hype. No need to tout your own horn.
And that’s where you can create powerful options that are win-win for your clients AND bottom line.