I can still hear her screaming today.
I was 22, and it was my first real corporate job...
I was working in the service center for a financial services company.
The lady on the other side of the phone was a client, and she wasn't happy.
Her life insurance policy had just been renewed for 1,000's of dollars via automatic debit.
There was nothing I could say to calm her emotions down and have a conversation.
So I did the next best thing: I didn't say a word, I just listened to her vent.
Did I deserve to be screamed at? No.
But I had to let her get her emotions out if we wanted to progress.
After about 5 minutes, the screaming finally stopped.
I could now show empathy for her situation.
And present some different solutions.
To resolve the situation...
I love to talk.
But over the years.
I've learned to listen more.
It's a valuable skill we don't use enough.
Because deep down, everyone wants to be heard.
And until they're heard, it's often hard to make any progress.
So if you want to work with people, you need to learn how to listen better.
One way to do that is by always remembering the "two ears and one mouth" theory.
Simply translated, you should do twice as much listening as you do speaking.
It took me a while to get the balance right at the start of my sales career.
But the experience I explained in my service center days helped me.
It was a reminder of how powerful the skill of listening could be.
If I didn't shut up and listen to her, I could have lost my job.
Who knows, I might have screamed back at her instead.
And my boss wouldn't have been happy with me.
Luckily, I set my ego aside and just listened.
Now we can learn from the experience...
I don't remember where I first heard it.
But I bet you've heard something similar before.
"Put yourself in their shoes"
This is how I think of having empathy for people around me.
You need to put yourself in their shoes and see a different perspective.
It's not about you, it's about them and how they're feeling in the present moment.
If I was that lady I probably would have picked up the phone and started screaming too.
But she knew as well as I did...screaming wasn't going to get her anywhere at all.
At the end of day, she forgot about the direct deposit she had set up before.
It wasn't my fault or the company's fault. But that's not really the point.
What I had to realize is she unexpectedly saw $ leave her account.
And she wanted it back. End of story. No ifs, ands, or buts.
It was my empathy for her that allowed me to listen.
I needed her to understand that I understood.
It was the only way she would trust me.
Not the other way around...
Most things aren't black and white.
There is often room for creativity in the middle.
This is where all solutions are born from. The grey zone.
Ironically, your brain is also made of a bunch of stuff called grey matter.
I don't think it's a coincidence. You need to use your brain to find creative solutions.
If you approach everything with a black-or-white mindset, you'll let down a lot of people.
In the end, there's always a solution to find. But that's the key, you have to find it.
And there are many different ways for you to find a solution that works.
One is brainstorming. A space to explore all possible options.
You could also reach out to your network for support.
Or a mentor with more knowledge than you.
Either way, you will find a solution.
That works for everyone...
Don't overlook good service.
A sale puts some fuel in the gas tank.
But good service is like your scheduled maintenance...
The former gets you going on the road. The ladder keeps you there.
Good service = Client retention.
And if you want to provide good service you have to do three things really well.
2) Show Empathy
3) Find Viable Solutions
The more you work on these soft skills, the better service you will provide.
Your clients won't just be happy with the work you do for them.
But also with the continued service you provide them.
It's where you can really make a difference.
And build a competitive advantage.
To retain your customers...
Steven Arthur George