A Simple Strategy To Become A Better Listener


I’ve said this over and over:

As freight agents, we get the initial opportunity to move our prospect’s freight when they have a challenge, or something’s happened with their current carrier. However, without first listening to and discovering their challenge, we won’t have the opportunity to move their freight at all.

There’s another huge benefit to being an incredible listener. It’s when your listening is evident to your prospect, they begin to trust you more. The psychology behind this comes from a book called Influenceby Robert Cialdini.

Cialdini talks about investment. Investment is a word used to describe how emotionally involved you are in another individual. We want our prospects and customers to be emotionally involved in us, which means they’ll typically use us to solve their challenges.

When our prospects fill us in on their challenges, they’re investing in us. The more invested they become in us, the more they’ll trust, like and respect us, making it more likely that we’ll win their freight business.

What if my prospects won’t open up and tell me their challenges?

So, you understand that it’s a good thing to listen to your prospects. However, it’s much easier said than done in the beginning of your relationship building. Your prospects may typically give you one sentence answers to your questions, or, it may seem like they’re just not giving you their full attention. Your prospects and customers are busy. It’s your job to get them to slow down and talk with you. How do you achieve this?

Ask the “Magic Question”

There’s a magic question for getting prospects to open up to you.

That question is: “How do you mean?”

You can say How do you mean? again and again with a prospect, and it’ll never lose its effectiveness. This simple question is the easiest way to get prospects to share more details of their frustrations and concerns with you.

Asking how do you mean? gets your prospects attention to explain, at length, how they’re really feeling about something or someone.

Here’s how it works:

I’m interested in trying out a different freight broker shipping my freight. I’m disappointed with my current company.

You: How do you mean?

Prospect: Well, they didn’t show up on time and… (prospect will continue to explain what happened and tell you exactly what you have to know, so you can then prove that you’re better and different than their previous freight company)

Here’s another example:

This time, you’ve just quoted a rate to a new prospect.

Prospect: Your rate is too high!

You: How do you mean?

Prospect: Our regular broker charges us $XXX. That’s $100 less than your rate. (You now have to determine if you wish to lower your rate or not, based on this info just shared with you)

Try this today!

When your prospect makes a statement, give them permission to tell you more by asking

How do you mean?

The end result is: Your prospects will be more invested in you. They’ll tell you their challenges and hence, they’ll give you the opportunity to solve them.

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