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Communication is an essential business skill. It’s impossible to be successful without it. That’s why there are so many books, audio programs, seminars and educational courses on the topic. Communication requires Four Essentials: Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening.
All of these are important, but there’s one sub skill of communication that we’re rarely taught. Since few are taught this skill, the few who learn it excel and exceed the performance of others.
That skill is listening.
One of the first things we learn to do is speak. Then we go to school and learn to read and write, but at no point do we learn how to listen. Most people believe they know how to listen, when the only thing they know how to do is hear.
The Best Sales Agents Are The Best Listeners
The assumption that most people have about freight sales agents is that they are great speakers. This is where phrases like
he has the gift of the gab come from.
The reality is the opposite. The best freight sales agents aren’t the best speakers. They’re the best listeners.
When you listen intently to a prospect, they’ll open up to you. They’ll tell you their frustrations, goals, desires and challenges when you give them permission to. Once you know the challenges of your prospects, then you’re able to offer them solutions. Listening is the MAIN key to uncovering those needs and requirements.
Now that we’ve established the importance of listening, let’s talk about how to become a great listener.
The key to becoming a great listener is providing Psychological Visibility. Experts in the field have discovered that psychological visibility is one of our more important needs. It means that the person listening to us makes us feel that our emotions are “seen” and that our ideas are heard. The more you show someone that they’re psychologically visible, the more they trust, like and respect you. These are the things required which make them want to do business with you.
Key One: Repeat The Words That They’re Saying Back To Them
If you want to impress somebody and be a great listener, say back to them during your conversation what they just told you. When you do this, you’ll see their eyes light up because they know you’re truly listening and paying attention to them.
For example, a prospect is telling you about a challenge they had with a previous freight agent. You would say: “So, are you saying that agent dropped a load on you, and then didn’t communicate with you after that? They say that they’ll recover the load and that’s the last you heared from them? Wow”
Key Two: Repeat The Emotion That They’re Feeling Back To Them
Psychological Visibility is not only showing the person you’re talking to that you understand the information they’re sharing, but ALSO showing you understand the emotions they feel. Some people listen and relate on the information level, but very few relate with emotions. This will turbo charge your relationships. All you have to do is say back to them the emotion they’re feeling about an issue as well.
For example, if a friend is telling you about a skiing trip they took recently with their family and telling you how much fun they had, you can say:
There are few things more exhilarating and fulfilling than spending time with your family!
When you relate with both information and emotion, people will know you’re listening and you fully understand them. When you listen on all levels, you’ll fly ahead of the competition.