Pay Attention and Be Interested to Be More Interesting to Clients

Perhaps your local grocery store trains their checkout personnel to ask the same question as the one I always hear.

They should also train them to listen to the answers.

Let me explain…

I placed my bags of organic fruits and veggies on the counter and the cashier didn’t even look up while saying, “Did you find everything OK?”

“Yes, thanks,” I replied.

She began reading the codes from the stickers and looking things up her in flip-book, and punching in the the prices.

Then she casually asked, “Did you find everything OK?”

I chuckled a bit, as if it was a joke, realized it wasn’t when she didn’t smile, and replied again, “Uh, yes, I did.”

She continued, finished the last items, and then said–I kid you not–“Did you find everything OK?”

This time I replied, “Yep, didn’t think of anything else since a minute ago.”

Her blank stare gave me the feeling she didn’t find that as humorous as I did.

I’d like to think this experience is the exception with service people, coaches, or even just people in general. You and I both know that unfortunately it is more the norm.

The typical attention span today is mere seconds–if that. People are addicted to distraction.

Young and old. We communicate in abbreviated phrases. We get news in headlines, scrawls and tweets. If a website doesn’t grab our attention in seconds, click. Next.

Someone emailed me and said they like our videos, but they need to be shorter.  Five minutes is too long. I’m guessing that them reading an entire book would be an outrageous notion.

And don’t even get me going on the entire notion of “present but absent,” which is using your mobile device to text, call, tweet, email or whatever– when you are WITH another person.

Any time someone does that they are indicating, “I’ve got something more important here.” Even if it’s scrolling through Facebook posts of what someone had for dinner.

Pam and I were walking through a restaurant to our seat the other day, and we observed at least 80% of the tables with couples together, and one, and sometimes both of them were tapping on, talking into, or staring blankly at their mobile devices.

Present but absent.

OK, let me get this rant back on the tracks. My point is the reality today is that we must operate in the environment where people in general have shorter attention spans than ever.

We are more distracted and inundated with stimuli than ever before.

To be effective in the coaching and client-acquisition game, we need to proactively counteract that when we are sending, and receiving messages.

A couple of very rudimentary, but nevertheless important points.

Pay Attention

I believe that to truly be an effective communicator and coach, you need to work hard at the art and science of simply paying attention.

Yes, that means actually listening to what the other person is saying, and not thinking of what you will say next. Or worse, interrupting them with what you want to say.

It means not checking your emails, texts, tweets, Facebook or any other site while you are speaking with a prospect or client by phone.

Despite what many say, there is no such thing as multi-tasking, since a person can only do one thing at a time. If you are flitting from thing to thing, you are not doing any of them very well. Certainly you wouldn’t have your A-game when you are talking on the phone and trying to perform several other activities.

Here’s a test worth taking: on the remainder of your spoken communication today, on the phone and face-to-face, practice “over the top” listening. That means grabbing on to every word you hear as if you would be tested on it, with dire consequences if you failed. You might be surprised at how much you really hear.


Pre-empt their Distraction

I’m always asked, “How do I get people interested in my coaching services?”

Easy. Don’t try to get people interested. Be more interested. Which then makes you more interesting, as the great Dale Carnegie said.

How? Talk about their favorite subject: them.

This is not new. But then again, I don’t know why more people don’t do it.

Sitting in my voice mail inbox right now is a message from a clueless caller who left a 90-second message about the service he provides to call centers and how he wants to set up an appointment so he could show me how I should be using his service in my call center.

Uh, hello. It wouldn’t take more than a few seconds to find out exactly what I do, which is not run a call center.

What my business is, is helping people do what he didn’t. Create curiosity, engage with people through questions and conversation, and move the sales process forward. That’s what I constantly talk about.

So, if you are having a difficult time striking up conversations with people, taking those conversations further, getting prospects to read–or even open–your emails, having them actually answer the phone when you set a phone appointment, and then actually getting clients to sign up, well, brace yourself: it’s probably you.

Money, and attention, flows to value. How can you communicate that?

You need to start by getting out of an “it’s all about me” frame of mind, and into an “all about them” state.

If you made it all the way to here to the end, congrats. You either have a refined attention span, and/or I kept your interest. Follow these ideas and you will be way ahead of those who are busy being distracted.

Will you please share with other coaches? Thanks!
Art Sobczak

For over 30 years Art has helped sales pros say the right things to get more appointments, clients, and sales in virtually all industries. He's speaker, trainer, coach, and best-selling author, and now working to help health, wellness, and fitness coaches and trainers help more people. Contact him at Art@HealthCoach.Training or (480)699-0958.

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