Bob Barker, American icon and host of “The Price Is Right” for the past fifty years, retired in 2007. When asked about his career, Mr. Barker said that the key to his success is listening. “When I talk with someone, I listen. And I think if you do, you’re going to find little nuggets of gold to go with.”
Want your business to be a success? Take a tip from Bob Barker and listen for nuggets of gold from your clients.
Recently I couldn’t understand some of the features of a home that an architectural client of mine had designed. This was his “dream home,” but for the life of me I could not understand some of the features that he had included in the plans. He had drawn a nook into the family room that simply did not work. It stopped the flow of the room, was small and isolated, and to top it off it jutted out into the porch. I thought that if I made one of the walls into a forty-five degree angle, it would flow better with the rest of the room, and would not be quite so isolated.
In the first meeting with the client to discuss his design, I discovered that they homeschool their five children. They needed a space where one kid could sit and read without being visually distracted, while feeling like he was still part of the family. So the client had designed this rectangular nook with a window seat and bookshelves off of the family room. Now that’s a real form and function gold nugget! We will now be able to provide value to our client while helping him redesign his home because we took the time to listen and get to know his family and lifestyle.
It is common for our many of our clients have rooms in their home that have such fond memories attached to them that it is difficult for them to lose those spaces to a new design. Finding out what those spaces are is not always easy when meeting with the clients. Sometimes we don’t find out how attached the clients themselves are to an existing room until we present the new design that has done away with the old space.
I recently designed an addition that did away with the bedroom that the client had grown up in. Who could blame the client for not wanting to part with the room that held so many fond childhood memories, despite the fact that she loved the new design?
I’m sure that better listening skills would have spared her the shock of seeing her childhood bedroom deleted, and saved us a considerable amount of design time.
If good listening skills add value to our product and save us time and money, what exactly are appropriate listening skills?
Great listening skills include:
-Making eye contact
-Waiting for the speaker to finish their sentence
-Asking pertinent questions
-Working to understand the speaker
-Restating or summarizing the speaker’s ideas
-Being genuinely interested in the speaker
If you want to be successful, Dale Carnegie said, you need to be genuinely interested in other people. Are you listening?
Jonathan Cawley is an experienced freelance writer and is Editor-In-Chief of the North Carolina Predator Hunters Association. His website, Raleigh SEO Consulting, contains lots of articles and tips by other noted SEO writers.