Something I never realized as a younger man was the power of listening more than you speak. I thought I was hot shit and smarter than those around me. At some point, we all go through this phase in our life.
Your typical moody teen I would spend my days ignoring the advice of my teachers, counselors, and just about anyone in power who wanted to offer their help.
What a fool I was…
After high school, I had zero interest in going to college so I went to work at Cardinal Health which is a network of medical businesses. The location I worked at happened to be a nuclear pharmacy where radioactive isotopes would be compounded with miscellaneous drugs and sent off to hospitals and private clinics for patient testing.
Think X-rays but of your veins and muscles like the heart and lungs.
Most of the guys I worked with at this pharmacy were older and mostly men who had retired and then picked up a part-time job doing delivery to get out of the house. It’s interesting to see how many people want to get back to work even after retiring. One of the first things I learned from these guys was the power of showing up early. These guys taught me
“If you’re not 5 minutes early, you’re late. If you’re going to be late, don’t bother showing up at all”
Why Paying Attention Costs Nothing But Its Value Is Priceless
Lesson #1: Attention to Punctuality.
Result: Showing up early led me to 3 promotions in the first 6 months of working there.
You should be focused on your punctuality as well. What would it look like to a client if you can’t bother to show up on time? If an attorney was late to court it would reflect poorly on their client and could lead to loss of the case. You need to avoid this at all costs. If that means planning farther in advance for traffic and unforeseen circumstances…DO IT.
Not long after leaving the pharmacy I fell into working at a local cigar shop doing basic shop duties. Sales, stock, whatever grunt work was needed basically.
What I loved about that job was how it brought guys of all income levels together. We would have guys in our lounge who made 6 and 7 figures having a casual conversation and passing advice to guys who made minimum wage and lived paycheck to paycheck. All sharing their stories over a $5 tobacco stick.
After getting to know the usual customers I started offering advice on other cigars or products they might enjoy.
Lesson #2: Attention to Habit
Result: By getting to know the likes and dislikes of my customers I was able to increase overall sales by 10% and move us to be voted the #1 Cigar Shop in Toledo in a poll voted on by the community. This led me to a significant raise and the title of the store manager.
I’ve spent the last 10 years in sales now…
From Cigars, Furniture, Insurance, and now business consulting, one of the biggest lessons I have learned is the value of truly listening to your customers and finding out what drives them. I can’t tell you how big the shift was when I finally realized that it wasn’t my “job” to convince others to buy a product or service.
It was my DUTY to listen and then offer my advice on how our product or service would best solve their problems.
Lesson #3: Have empathy and understand the feelings of others
Result: I get to spend my days doing fulfilling work and at the end of the day I go to bed happier knowing my clients are getting what they paid for and so much more. As a bonus, my life is filled with abundance.
So for those of you struggling to find a better way of doing things…
Who is trying to figure out why you can’t close more sales.
Try investing just a little bit more time in paying attention to your clients, your surroundings, and the successful people who are offering advice. Listen to every conversation with intention and be sure to take note of the lessons inside each of them. This will lead you to significantly better communication skills and inevitably being better in business and in life.
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