We are bombarded by messages wherever we go. As a result, we tend to tune things out. The problem is, we sometimes forget to turn on our active listening skills when we need them, like during a new home sale negotiation.
When you’re so preoccupied with preparing your next moment of brilliance, you might miss an invaluable clue from the buyer. Or you might latch on to a phrase like, “We like an open floor plan” and then fail to hear the caveat: “But I’m not sure this is the best layout for us.”
Here are some tips for active listening:
- Stay focused on the speaker. Don’t let your mind wander. Hear them out and maintain eye contact.
- Eliminate distractions. Plan your negotiation in a space where you can cut out possible interruptions. Close the door. Show your buyer that you are turning off your cell phone in order to remove that distraction.
- Don’t interrupt. Let your buyer finish her sentence. As much as you might want to jump in and offer your viewpoint or clarify an issue, wait until the person has finished.
- Disseminate facts from feelings. A fact is hard and fast, relatively immoveable; e.g., “We need to live in a good school district.” A feeling reflects a perception; “It seems like a small room.” A fact doesn’t change. A feeling can. Be clear of which one you’re dealing with so you can respond appropriately.
- Keep an open mind. Be objective. Don’t be swayed by a word or phrase that sends your thought process off into a different direction. Make a mental note to return to the point when it’s your turn to speak.
- Clarify and confirm. Make sure that you understand your customer. Ask questions when you’re not sure. And recount what you’ve just heard, to ensure that you caught the meaning that was intended: “So what I’m hearing from you is….”
You have heard it before, yet it necessitates repeating: “You were blessed with two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately.”