The Four Stages of Business Listening

March 12, 2012

Here in Alabama, and across the country and the world, there has been very little research done in the area of business listening. In fact, it is the hardest individual interpersonal skill that someone has to learn if they want to succeed within sales and customer service. No matter the situation, in business listening, a clear decision has to be assessed, made and kept; it is that voluntary willingness to eliminate distractions and put the client at ease that makes a problem and situation manageable enough to create a solution. Being consistent in this purpose every single time we listen is very tough to do.

In multiple studies, it is stated that about half of anyone’s income can be derived from listening. So we must listen in every situation for background information; we must watch for inferences, and we must understand both details and message to solve an issue or problem.

The meaning of a message, regardless of tone, always stems from a mix of both subject and situation. Listening can be looked at as not only a critical skill but the essential process for problem solving. We should always follow this four stage methodology:

  • Understand: The reason for the conversation must quickly be perceived                and the discussion must always be transactional to succeed.
  • Evaluate: The issue is always the most critical aspect when there is a problem in a sale or within customer service. Assess what is important and target that for discussion.
  • Summarize: This listening task involves both concentration and full attention. Lots of things are said in a problem situation; what information do we address?
  • Respond: Everything that is said in reply, from the tone to the words and phrases that we use, have to focus on getting control of the situation and addressing and solving it.

In business, poor listening is more common then we think. It ensures poor results, steals time, costs sales and repeat business, and destroys reputations. By listening for results and importance, we always put the customer first. There is success in that strategy right here in Alabama.

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This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Huntsville, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @DaleCarnegieALA

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