Why it’s So Difficult to Listen

Dan Solin Photo Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

Listening is simple. But being a good listener is incredibly difficult. That lesson was illustrated by a recent conversation I had with a new coaching client.

I started the session – as I usually do – by asking him to tell me about himself. His answer took almost 15 minutes. He started with his upbringing in rural Iowa and continued to his decision to become an investment advisor.

When he was finished. I waited to be sure he had nothing more to add. After a brief period of awkward silence, he said, “You are a very good listener.”

I really value that comment. But it wasn’t always true. It’s taken a lot of practice and research. Sometimes I fall short.

The importance of listening

Sincere, genuine listening is at the core of the Solin Process℠. In order to convert prospects into clients, it’s critical that you listen to them. Really listen.

Everyone agrees listening is very important. One expert made this observation: “… if I had to pick just one quality, that all of these [good sales people] … share, it would be this: The ability to listen.”

Barriers to listening

I’ve underestimated the barriers to learning how to listen. There are many. Here are the most common ones:

Lack of self-awareness: Almost everyone believes they’re better than average listeners. One study at Wright State University surveyed 8,000 people. Almost all of them thought they listened as well or better than their co-workers.

You can’t solve a problem you don’t know you have.