Posts Tagged ‘Zen Mind’
Wednesday, November 30th, 2011
The Benefits Of Being In The Learning Mode: Can you hear your clients?
by Stephen Wershing
If you want greater share of wallet and more referrals, periodically you need to be listening and acting on feedback. When it is time to receive that feedback, it is critical that you be in the “learning mode”. When I facilitate client advisory boards, I coach advisors to have a Zen mind. I encourage them to be in the state of openness. It is a little like practicing a form of meditation called mindfulness – accept ideas as they arrive, examine them without judgment, perhaps set them aside for further consideration, and move onto the next suggestion.
Getting into and staying in the learning mode is hard. As humans, we have a reflexive tendency to respond to questions with answers. Compounding that, we are in the business of providing answers. It is our job to share our expertise and tell people what to do. There are times, however, when we need to switch roles and get feedback on what we’re doing. If we want to improve our practices, we need our clients’ guidance. And in that situation, answering does not help. What do you learn when you answer? Nothing. How do you get better when you answer? You don’t.
Always seek value in these interactions. Ask what can I learn from this client? What can I learn from this situation? Look for questions to ask. If you are asked a question, try following the answer with another question. If possible, ask a question instead of answering. Here are some examples:
Before I answer that, what about this is important to you?
What would it mean to you if I could do that?
What would you say is the biggest concern you have that is prompting that question? (Which is a less threatening way of asking “why do you ask?”).
The need to discuss this was highlighted by a conversation I had with an advisor yesterday. We were discussing the agenda for his first client advisory board meeting. He said “I’m not sure what to put on the agenda, I don’t know what they want to hear about.” My response was that a meeting like this was not about what they wanted to hear, it is about what they have to say.
There is a time to answer. When it is a time to listen and the clients turn to speak, the longer you can stay in the learning mode, the more your clients will tell you how to do more business with them and how you can attract more clients like them.
Tags: Advisory Board, Advisory Boards, Agenda, Board Meeting, Coach, Guidance, Job, Judgment, Meditation, Openness, Providing Answers, Questions With Answers, Referrals, Share Of Wallet, Suggestion, Tendency, Zen Mind
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