In every conversation you will always hear two words eventually. Anyway or Exactly. They are both communication barometers, a compass pointing the way, guideposts if you will, to calibrate how well you are building trust and developing the relationship.

I was a brand new sales rep. I had been reading every sales book I could find. One idea stood out so I tried it on the very next call. “How did you get started in this business?” I asked. The prospect smiled and proceeded to talk for three hours! He said ANYWAY five times, to himself. He would wander off point, realize it and say ANYWAY to get himself back on point. At the end of our time, as if waking from a dream state, he asked, “So why are you here?” I closed the deal. It was the biggest sale of my career and it happened in two visits. It ended up being a very positive lesson in human relations. It also meant $500,000 in business to the company over the next two years. That day changed my life.

It was a simple idea. George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”

ANYWAY is a great thing to hear if its from the person that is doing all the talking. It means you are listening and they are talking, a lot. Had he said ANYWAY to me when I was talking, it would have been a bad thing.

If you are doing all the talking, or you and your ego interrupted a friend, prospect, spouse or child when they were talking and you hear ANYWAY, it really means, “Let’s get back to what is truly important, ME! My story, my needs, me!” You see, most people have bad listening habits. It’s often based on ego needs and self. If you are talking and haven’t taken a breath for ten minutes, if that person needs to talk and most people do, they will say ANYWAY. It’s a sign. It’s an indication you need to be quiet.

On the other hand, if you listening, make the time to understand their point or position, subjugate your own ego and resist the temptation to to say, “That’s nothing, one time I…” you push that person away. If you want to draw them into a long term relationship, earn their trust and respect, LISTEN. If you have to talk, paraphrase what you hear, “So you are frustrated with….” Then and only then will you hear the magic word, ‘EXACTLY!” EXACTLY changes everything. It means understanding exists. Trust is being formed. You have provided a valuable service. It means you are that much closer to closing the deal or winning a friend.

Let your prospects, clients, friends and family have their moment in the sun. Everyone wins….EXACTLY!

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