Listen and Understand

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“Listen with the intent to understand, not with the intent to reply.” Steven R. Covey

How important is it to listen? Listening to someone and understanding their point of view can sometimes be difficult; however, to sell, educate and build trust, listening plays a major roll. Being approachable is definitely one way to build on this foundation. When you are approachable, your customers and associates will find you to be likable, pleasant and friendly. When someone is approachable, they will most likely be humble. Many may think humility is a quality of weakness. However, it is quite the opposite. Humility adds to our character making us strong and mature human beings. When we are humble, it is much easier to listen, learn and accept what we need to change to better ourselves personally and as a team.

You may find someone who has the best abilities in the world, but they are not successful. This person may have a wonderful father, mother and friends whom support them, but they find themselves stagnate never moving forward in life. Why is this? We may know of others who do not have a support system of family or friends but they choose to make things happen in their life. People react the way they do for many different reasons, but it is always going to be up to each and every one of us to listen and learn.

Most are familiar with the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.” Well, no matter how hard you try or how much you help someone, you cannot make them do something unless they do it for themselves. They must have it made up in their mind what they want to do, and then the most difficult part for anyone will be the follow through or commitment.

In our trainings we like to talk about the definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. When you wake up in the morning you may want today to be different, but how? Without planning or having a goal in mind, most wants end up just being passing thoughts. If you want to educate your customers and sell more, you most likely need to adjust your approach to the customer. In most cases, we find the problem is simply not offering the service. Ask every time, and you may be surprised what happens.

Listen to your customers, and they will listen to you. When you listen to your customers you will have understanding, which in turn gives you the knowledge necessary when offering services. Whether your customers purchase the service today or come back six months later, you are building trust.

Be proactive. It is your choice to listen, understand and make decisions; therefore choose to sell more than your neighboring store. Do not blame others. You have the choice. Utilize the tools you have at hand, and start listening today. To quote Oliver Whendell Holmes, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

AMBER KOSSAK is president and CEO of Solid Start, manufacturer of True Brand Products. She has been in the automotive industry for almost 20 years and is serving on the AOCA board of directors. She can be contacted at: For more information please visit:

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