Small business owners encounter customers, staff members, and others on a daily basis. Some days, interacting on a personal level can feel like a chore. Extra energy and attentiveness are required for your profession because your connections with people contribute to your overall success as a business. In addition, business owners must master their listening skills in order to become an effective communicator. So next time you feel discouraged, or catch yourself losing focus during a conversation, remember the following ways that listening better will strengthen your business.
1. Information and Inspiration
It might surprise you how much information you can gain just by listening closely. Customers may inspire you with new ideas or express their needs and suggestions. Moreover, having a discussion with an employee allows you to evaluate their attitude towards your business.
2. Maintaining a Great Reputation
Reputations are an important category for small businesses. Whenever you converse with a customer, you represent your business. So, listening to them completely and willingly will only boost your reputation, and continue to build a lasting relationship with said customer.
3. Conflict Resolution/Reduction
Next time you have a conflict with a customer or employee, make a point of applying your very best listening skills. Make eye contact, focus on the person speaking and fully absorb their concerns. In addition to a more timely resolution, this allows you to make a mental note of the conflict, so you can prevent it from happening again.
4. Driving Sales
This may sound like a stretch, but listening actively can actually lead to higher sales. If you listen to your customer’s needs, you have a better chance of providing a solution for them. Therefore, you have an opportunity to satisfy a customer and make a sale. That’s music to your ears!
Adults spend about 45% of their overall time listening (Adler, R. 2001). Choose to spend that time benefitting your small business a whole!