“Are you listening or are you just waiting for your turn to talk?”
This quote was by Robert Montgomery, the author of Listen Your Way to Success. After many years of life, I have another great one to add to this. “Shut up and listen”! This in the best way to help your clients succeed and I promise that if you learn how to do this, you will also find success in your own life as well.
Shutting up means shutting yourself down when someone else is talking, be quiet and seriously seek to understand what the other person is saying. Respond with questions that dive deeper into the conversation and look for the “why” behind the “what”. Stop assumptions and beliefs that you might have that the other is trying to convey and let them express what they want. This is not always easy to do, but this skill is critically important towards building authentic relationship both in business and in life.
Henri Nouwen, a well-respected priest, professor and leader in modern psychology once stated:
“Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond…The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends.”
Here is a recent personal experience. A client that I started working with a few months ago came to me to help him hire a customer service rep and a sales agent for his growing business. At this point many people in the recruiting would think- “Okay, I have enough information and I can help this person”. And maybe you can. You check the boxes he asked for and present him with a person that may or may not work out. This is a single serving superficial business relationship. What have you done to change from a vendor or supplier, which is easily changed, to a trusted partner or confidant?
Instead after talking about the specific job needs, we just talked about his company while downing some Starbucks coffee. I asked questions about his company’s vision, growth plans, mission, etc. After long enough, he trusted me enough to answer the question about the why behind the what. (Many sales books call this the need behind the need.) He shared with me that his dream was to move his office to a larger, nicer location because he always dreamed of having an incredible office environment for his team, an environment with great décor, a relaxation room, incredible views etc. Once he and I had a clear, complete and mutual understanding of his why, I busted my tail to get him the best people for those roles that helped him towards his goal. Sure the conversation took time, however authentic relationships take time. When someone you want to work with knows that they are more than a number on a balance sheet to you, and that their success, as they define it, is what you are trying to achieve they are much more likely to trust you.
A fellow business owner and friend talked with me about the importance of relationships in business the other day. He said something I loved and use often in my own business:
“Darrin, the problem for many business owners, leaders and managers is that they focus on numbers and wonder why they aren’t getting customers. While numbers are important, if your focus is on your customers or clients, the numbers will take care of themselves.”
You know what? He’s right.
If you go to the YMCA at 5 in the morning you may hear a folk song that Bob Dylan wrote on the oldies channel they always play in there. “THE ANSWER MY FRIEND, IS ‘BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND”
This old song asks a series of questions; some serious, some whimsical. The interesting point of the song seems to be the elusiveness of the answers to those questions. Business relationships can be very much like that. We sometimes assume we have the answers, but we all know what that leads to. The truth is, we don’t even know the questions unless we really push to get to know the people.
These 3 things are essential to successful relationships that help your clients succeed:
- Be a Dreamer – One must fully understand their customer’s Vision, Mission, and Dreams (yes, Dreams) – Never assume you already know what’s on the mind and heart of the person you want to do business with. Be someone who genuinely cares about them and their dreams.
- Ask Great Questions – Then ask great questions and listen for the answers (really listen). Don’t just ask the general questions about the business, but about the person and their interests and dreams. Be truly interested in not just what the immediate goals are but ask them to address their dreams for the future as well. What drives them? What is their vision? You may be the only ear that has heard their heart. Treat what you hear with great respect and importance.
- Work as hard at achieving your customer’s dreams as you do your own dreams – make their dreams your goal. The customer will be ecstatic that someone cares enough to work at making their dreams a reality. Make sure you continue to ask questions to fine tune what you understand about that dream as it progresses.
The answer doesn’t have to be ‘blowin’ in the wind. You are not just a dream-catcher, but a “Dream-Builder.” Genuine business relationships lead to commitment, commitment leads to success. ”Get to know the customer. Make their heart your goal. Be committed to fulfilling their vision, mission, and dreams. Their success is your success.
The reason I bought and lead HH Staffing is that I felt the history here that was created over the last 30 years of helping people to achieve their dreams by findings great people, to fill great opportunities, at great companies.
So, what is Darrin’s dream you might ask yourself right about now? What is Darrin’s goal? My goal is to do as much good in the world by helping as many people as I possibly can for as long as I can without compromising my values or integrity. I want to be a good husband, a good father and make a difference in the community in which I live. I want to be considered as running one of the best staffing agencies on the planet. I want to leave a legacy of goodness when my time is done here on earth. I think Mark Twain said it well when he said, “Let us endeavor to live a life so well that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.”
If you would like to talk about your goals to someone who will take the time and effort to understand you and truly partner with you towards your goals, contact me today.
Until Next Time,
Your Staffing Partner, Darrin Rohr- President, CEO and Chief Servant
Current owner of HH Staffing and Former Chief HR Officer for several successful Multinational Fortune 500 Companies. Brings fresh perspective from decades of experiences creating Great Workplace Cultures by building high performance teams while leading and managing people from all different backgrounds. HH Staffing is headquartered in Sarasota, Florida and is uniquely positioned to serve both local and national clients.