Retaining clients comes down to one thing and this is whether or not your business is capable of adapting to the changing needs of your client. Identify and use communication skills to bring value to your business relationship. You enhance your own self-awareness, AND you remove the blocks distancing you from hearing what a client is saying over the phone, the internet, or as they stand right in front of you. Being able to stay in the present moment and meet the desires of your client as their needs and preferences change is how you maintain clients.
The way you keep clients is by getting out of the way of yourself and any of your own listening or emotional blocks. The actual skill you hone is called active listening. And, with active listening, when a client speaks, you not only listen, but you also use reflective listening when you repeat or paraphrase back their need to them. Assuming that everyone else communicates, listens, or learns exactly like you is unrealistic. The way you win every time is by:
(1) Knowing what your own communication style, listening blocks, and learning styles are and,
(2) What the other communication styles, listening blocks, and learning styles are so that you can objectively identify whether or not the client has similar or dissimilar styles.
By identifying your client’s preferences, you can then adapt how you interact with them. You can enhance the quality of your business relationship by also using empathy to see from their point of view. With increased self-awareness, we interact more compassionately and empathetically with others. This releases both parties’ emotional blocks, attracting clients to stay with you, rather than to go their separate ways.
Read below how to identify your own communication style, listening blocks, and learning styles. We’ll also cover how to use these skills to your client’s advantage.
- 1. Identify Communication Styles
Do you know your communication style? Click here to take the Communication Style Quiz. Are you passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, or assertive when you communicate? The good news is that everyone can become a more assertive communicator. Being able to articulate your thoughts and feelings ensures conflicts are kept to a minimum.
As you get to know your client better, you can often figure out what their communication style is by the way they interact and approach a sale or setback. You can further learn about gender differences in buying/selling to enhance your retention rates by taking the Gender IQ Quiz or the Gender Based Sales Training Program.
- 2. Notice, then Eliminate Your Listening Blocks
There are about 12 listening blocks that everyone has when someone else is talking. Becoming aware of which listening blocks you use on a consistent basis will help you eliminate them, because you become more cognizant when they creep into a conversation.
The 12 listening blocks are:
b) Mind reading
i) Being Right
By identifying the listening blocks you use, you then consciously shift your attention back to your client (or anyone for that matter) before they even know you’ve drifted. This alleviates miscommunication, conflict, and stress. Why? You hear the person correctly the first time. Click here to find out if you are a good listener.
I often direct my client’s to the listening block article so they can figure out what types of listening blocks they use. This immediately adds value to what you’re offering if you’re selling services, because you are also teaching greater self-awareness. If you’re selling a product, you may not necessarily have your client identify their listening blocks. Your cognizance of these blocks enables you to pick up on when your client’s attention wanders so you can quickly re-focus them.
- 3. Identify Learning Styles
There are 3 ways we learn information: audio, visual, and kinesthetic. Identify which is your primary and secondary learning style as well as your client. One easy way to do this is by noticing the type of language you and your client use while negotiating contracts.
- Audio learners tend to resonate with: “I hear…,” “it sounds like…”
- Visual learners tend to respond well to: “I see…” and “it looks like…”
- Kinesthetic learners tend to say things like: “it makes sense to me,” “it feels good…”
Use all 3 ways until you figure out their preference. Or just ask outright what ways they prefer to learn information so that you can better explain your services and products to them.
Surpass Their Needs by Utilizing Feedback
If you meet their needs and exceed their expectations, then you will retain them as clients. As you meet and do business with them do check-ins often. Ask clients to rate how well you are doing, or how well they are satisfied with your service or product. When it comes time to renew a contract, you can refer back to these tests and measurements, as well as the different communication skills you’ve helped them enhance as value-added benefits for what it is you can do for them.