Giving Advice vs. Listening

Food For Thought:

People love to give advice. When someone gives you advice, the advice they give is most likely about what they need rather than what you need.

Recently, I sent a secure email to my doctor’s office asking for a call back so I could discuss the details about whether I need to get a new prescription since my current prescription’s refills ran out. After three days, I did not hear back from anyone from the doctor’s office. So, I called the office and demanded to talk to the administrator of the practice.

When I told the administrator about my frustration, she listened to my entire story and then profusely apologized. She then asked me about what was the best way to reach me. I said email. She said that she would put a note on in my electronic medial record reminding staff members to email me non-medical information.

At the end of this conversation, I felt listened to and had more confidence about the practice’s ability to respond to me.

Let’s try something:

  1. Briefly write down a dissatisfaction or frustration of a customer/client. Use either a real example or make one up.
  1. Next, write down three open-ended questions you might ask that dissatisfied customer. Do not ask a question that requires a “yes” or “no” answer. These questions should focus on what customer needs were not met.

Don’t under-estimate the power of asking questions. Asking questions:

  • Takes the pressure off of you to immediately solve the problem or give advice
  • Gives you time to think rather than react
  • Lets the customer know you are interested in him/her

Here are the three steps to help your enhance your business relation with a dissatisfied customer:.

  1. Listen to the complaint
  2. Emphasize with customer’s frustration
  3. Ask how you can meet their needs

I hope you do not have any dissatisfied customers. If you do, be prepared to listen, emphasize and ask a question. Read about how to be a good listener in Critical Connections.

Listening is a positive act. You have to put yourself out to do it.

-David Hockney


How to Destroy a Business Relationship in Three Easy Steps – part 1

You can use the most effective sales techniques in the world and have a superior product or service to offer your customers, but if you don’t watch out for and address the three most common business relationship destroyers, you might as well close up shop. Today, we’re going to be talking about Business Relationship Destroyer #1: Focusing on Negativity.  

Negativity begets negativity.

Take the case of business owners Debbie Downer and Walter Whiner. At one time or another encountered Debbies and Walters in a business situation. Debbie and Walter perceive most customer communication as negative. These two people are lost in the netherworld of negativity. The opposite is also true. Everything (well, almost) that comes out of Debbie’s and Walter’s mouths sounds negative. The negativity can be heard in tone of voice and or in the subtle off-putting messages that are communicated to customers. You can easily ruin a sale and possibly sabotage your reputation by acting like a Debbie or Walter.

It seems like some people’s brains are wired for negativity. For those people, it doesn’t take much to activate their brain’s emergency alert system. When their emergency alert system is activated, their ‘thinking brain’ goes off line and their negative emotions take over.

As a businessperson, you have to recognize what types of situations might trigger an emergency alert response. I am dramatizing the point here but, at some point in time, you’re going to be faced with a situation when you’ll feel reactive in a business situation.

In these types of situations, you don’t have the time or place to meditate or to sit back and take deep breaths. In Critical Connections, you’ll read about what’s going on in your brain and how it relates to being a successful marketer.

Stay tuned for the next episode of How to Destroy a Business Relationship in Three Easy Steps – Destroyer #2: Taking Things Personally.


Critical Connections-The Step-by-Step Guide to Transform Your Business Through Referral Marketing