Avoiding the Communication Bias: Listen like Your Deals Depend On It is something we have been thinking about since working with therapist Julia LMFT, who reframed sales in terms of consent, connection, and AVR in the past weeks posts. Julia and Ed discussed how to communicate better with validation and part of that includes TRULY listing. Additionally, Kate Murphy published a new book on listening and we read a really interesting interview here that explains the communication bias and the problem with poor listening. While we arrange another chat with Julia LMFT on committing to relationships by listening with fresh ears, we want to discuss how important it is to listen well during demos, discovery, and follow up.
What is the Communication Bias?
The Communication Bias is a concept that is coined by Kate Murphy and it refers to when you regularly communicate without listening. It results in relationships losing intimacy or connection. It is the result of communicating on autopilot. If you are not listening you may miss that we are changing daily and each of our interactions holds the possibility to learn something new. Our Demo Therapy discussions referenced this without naming it when Ed discussed the monotony of formulaic discovery questions that are meant to qualify, but that actually put a prospect off. This is Communication Bias in action. What is actually happening in our brains is that they categorize similar situations and responses, using less brainpower, and in turn, interactions take on subconscious qualities. Thus, we do not retain new information or change our responses in relation to the information absorbed. So how do we avoid Communication Bias?
Listen like your Discovery Depends On It
When you are listening and asking questions during discovery, you are listening for the first time and for this reason, we do not recommend using discovery questionnaires. If you are using a basic outline, that is qualifying, not discovery. Discovery questions should be open ended and the interest on your end should be placed solidly on the prospect and their point of view. When we are communicating with NEW people, it is less likely that we will fall into the communication bias trap, UNLESS, we are using the same questions and treat processes as routine. See our content on performing better discovery to see some listening points.
Listen like your Demo Depends On It
During our Demos, the same pitfalls exist as in discovery if we are following a Demo Script too closely. In pre sales especially, when we are running demo after demo after demo, it is exhausting to pay close attention and listen all the time. But, that is the key to delivering a more effective demo. Avoid the communication bias by using a Demo Set List, and listening to the discovery prior to the demo. Do not focus on the products as much as the communication and the value of the interactions between participants in the presentation in the room. You have a leave behind deck for facts and figures, so if you are delivering a demo to give this information, please see some of our Best Practices blogs. Live presentations and interactions are all about communication and listening.
Listen like Your Deals Depend On It
The cumulative effect of not listening properly on deals is failure to deliver a solution that works for clients. Sometimes, you might get lucky and have sales that follow the process laid out with questionnaires and demos that show a lot incidentally that the prospect is looking for. Listening does not leave this to chance and increases the likelihood of closing and building relationships, in the long haul.
Listen like Your Career Depends on It
Another important element of listening without the Communication Bias is that each interaction is fresh and you have the opportunity to potentially solve more problems, often with fiduciary rewards, and get more referrals when you have your mind tuned into your conversations. One of Kate Murphy’s points on communication bias is that we are changing constantly and if we are not listening to each other and asking questions a lot, we assume we know where the other person is at, and we grow apart. This speaks most clearly to personal relationships, but it also speaks to client relationships. Following up with clients and colleagues and checking in regularly is more than just a part of sales process, it is part of relationship building.
If you are interested in learning more about building relationships and listening skills, please follow along here! We welcome feedback of all types.