Bob Barker, host of “The Price Is Right” and an American icon for the past fifty years, retired in 2007. When asked about his phenomenal career and why he had been such a success, Mr. Barker said that the key to 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.”
Want your business to succeed? Bob Barker has a tip for you: 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 design meeting with the client, however, I found out that he is a homeschooler with five children. He wanted a space where one of his kids could sit and read without being visually distracted, but still feel like he was part of the family. So my client had designed this rectangular nook off of the family room with a window seat and bookshelves. Now that’s a real form and function gold nugget! Utilizing good listening skills, I will now be able to provide value to my client while helping him redesign his home.
Many of our clients have areas of their home that have such strong memories attached to them that it is difficult for them to lose those spaces to the new design. It’s not always easy to find out what those spaces are when meeting with the clients. Sometimes the clients themselves don’t realize how attached they 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 good listening skills?
Great listening skills include:
-Making eye contact
-Waiting for the speaker to finish their sentence
-Asking pertinent questions
-Striving to understand the speaker
-Restating or summarizing the speaker’s ideas
-Showing genuine interest in the speaker
If you want to be successful, Dale Carnegie said, you need to be genuinely interested in other people. Are you listening?
I hope that you enjoyed reading this article.
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Reginald Liggins is an internet marketing trainer and coach who resides outside of Portland in Beaverton, Oregon.
Reginald can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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