Friday, October 16, 2009

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“You Know…”
By Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, October 16, 2009

When was the last time you wrote a note to someone and wrote, “and a”, or “you know”, or “ah”? If you spoke like you wrote, you might have more success in getting what you want. In that regard, I would recommend everyone, regardless of their profession, read “The Little Green Book of Getting What You Want” by Jeffrey Gitomer.

Have you ever been distracted by a speakers’ favorite word, pause, or annoying habit? Was the message distorted or blurred because you found yourself counting the number of times the speaker waved her bangs away from her eyes or when he jingled the loose change in his pocket? Have you or the speaker ever looked at a watch? If you look at it, you are probably bored. If the speaker looks at it the speaker is probably thinking of being somewhere else; certainly not focused on you. Tip: Whenever you are with a customer, take your watch off. That way you will never be tempted to look at.

Just how annoying are you when you are the speaker. Most folks who read this, except you of course, do not think of themselves as speakers. Yet whenever you want to get your point across whether to your children, your spouse, friends or in the case of sales to a buyer or seller, that is exactly what you have become, a professional speaker; and hopefully a professional listener but that is for another Nugget.

I have found that most people do not know that they insert a word or words on a consistent basis into their conversations. They don’t know they have annoying habits like blowing or sucking air through their teeth, fixing their bangs, etc. If you do not know you are doing it, you also probably fail to grasp the affect those little words or gestures create in the listener’s mind. If the listener also happens to be a customer, you may lose the sale and it would have nothing to do with what the content of your conversation or speech.

For example, you would think that after a four-year college education a college graduate would learn by design if not by accident NOT to continually insert the phrase “you know” into a sentence. Yet when you listen to your favorite professional sports figure chances are you will hear “you know” more than once, you know?

The following is a short paragraph taken from The Millionaire Real Estate Agent written by Gary Keller. I have inserted the phrase “you know” like a lot of people would do if they were saying the same words aloud:

Most real estate agents you know... who consider becoming employers believe, you know... that hiring someone will cost them money. You know... the truth is that a bad hire will not only cost you money, you know.. it will also cost you opportunities. A good hire you know... will actually save you money and you know… probably won’t cost you any opportunities. A great hire-talent you know... will not only make you a lot of money you know… it will also create opportunities for you and your business; you know…?

Now “you know” I am telling you the truth. How many times do you say “you know” in your conversations? Really? Most who read this probably said I never say “you know”, you know? Really? Think again.

Here is another variation of the same paragraph. Does this apply to you, remember this is a conversation, not a written paragraph?

Ah… most real estate agents who consider becoming employers, ah…, believe that hiring someone will cost them money. And ah… the truth is that a bad hire, ah… will not only cost you money, and ah, it will cost you opportunities. Ah… a good hire will actually save you money and ah, probably won’t cost you any opportunities. A great hire, ah… talent, will not only make you a lot of money, and ah… it will also create opportunities for you and, ah… your business.

Again, you know I am right on this not that being right is the message, the message, ah… is that people typically do not speak like they would write when they say the same thing.

Other words or phrases we say but wouldn’t write are:

  • Yea instead of yes
  • Nah instead of no
  • Right!
  • Oh Yea
  • You know what I’m talking about?
  • Do you see?
  • Do you hear what I’m saying?
  • To be honest, as if sometimes you are not
  • The fact of the matter is, everything you talk about should be factual
  • Refer back (refer means going back)
  • I agree with you BUT…never say but, it builds a wall you don’t want built
  • Fixin to, local slang, don’t use it
  • Makin Groceries, local slang, don’t use it
  • MLS, GRI, CRS, CRB, ABR, JAR, PNG, etc, no one knows what these things mean except for other people in the same business but we use them nonetheless as if everyone knows what we mean; they ah…don’t but worse, they do not want to embarrass themselves by asking what they mean. For instance, JAR means Just Another REALTOR®, and PNG, means Pretty Nice Guy or Gal whichever the case may be.

Consider taking the word “but” out of your vocabulary. “I agree with you but…” It would be far more effective to say, I agree with you AND I think you will….”

There is a simple answer to the problem of adding words to your speech that should not be added and that is to record your speech/conversation. Recording your conversation would be even more effective if you ask someone you know very well to record your conversation over the next two months but NOT to let you know which conversation(s) they will record. In the beginning you will be more aware of what you are saying because of the agreement you made. Later you will forget the agreement and your conversations will be more natural and that is where you will truly shine light on the areas of your communications needing work.

I video taped my listing presentation. I thought I was good; I wasn’t! It involved much more than just what I said. Consider the things I did or did not do during the taped presentation:

  • Did not maintain eye contact
  • My body language was the complete opposite of the customers’
  • Used “ah” and the famous “and ah” so many times I needed a barf bag
  • Fidgeted in the chair
  • Sat when I should have been standing
  • Stood when I should have sat
  • Physically leaned into the conversation when I should have given the customer more space
  • Spoke way too fast, there is a difference between being excited and confident and when you are uncertain and nervous
  • Talked when I should have listened and taking notes
  • Did not take notes, unconsciously saying I was disinterested

These things happened when I knew I was being video taped. Some of the problems could have been caused by knowing I was being taped; I was nervous. I believe that if I did them on tape I most likely did them when they were for real.

What you say is not always what you mean and what you mean is not always what you say. If you have a pet, try this experiment. Yell these words to your pet, “Sophie, you are the best dog in the world; don’t know what I would do without you.” But you have to YELL THEM! Everything, your voice, your expression, the pitch, the volume tells Sophie she did something wrong EXCEPT for the words themselves. Now get down to the same level as Sophie and say in a loving voice the same thing and you get a different reaction from Sophie saying exactly the same thing. How people react to what we say is the same. How we THINK we sound and what we THINK we are saying may be entirely different than WHAT the other person hears. So think again Mon Frer!

Try saying the following and place emphasis on the embolden word:

I did not say I beat my wife.
I did not say I beat my wife.
I did not say I beat my wife.
I did not say I beat my wife.
I did not say I beat my wife.
I did not say I beat my wife.
I did not say I beat my wife.
I did not say I beat my wife.

Did the meaning change when you changed the emphasis placed on each word? Is it possible that the listener heard something other than what you intended?

For example, “I did not say I beat my wife,” might suggest to the listener that I may have beat someone else’s wife. Or, “I did not say I beat my wife,” might suggest that it was not I who said it, might have been my wife who said it. Same words; different meaning by just emphasizing a different word in the exact same sentence.

If you find yourself constantly repeating what you said, either the other party is hard of hearing, has no interest in what you are saying, or is unfocused, OR more likely you are speaking too softly, not directly to them, OR you are not speaking distinctly.

Finally, in a one-on-one conversation you MUST be aware of when you are jumping on the end of a sentence spoken by the other party. Let the other person finish their sentence and thought before you speak. In fact if you can learn to insert a long pause when the other person has finished speaking you accomplish the following:

  • You send a signal to the other party that you were listening
  • You send a signal that you are contemplating what was said before your respond
  • You insure the other person has finished speaking
  • You allow the other person to add a thought that might have been omitted

Silence during a conversation is difficult and powerful; learn to use it wisely.

To become an effective speaker you must first become an effective listener. In my many years in the sales business I have never been offered or seen a course on listening. (That is until I created one.) I recently took a golf lesson from a Professional Golf Association (PGA) pro. Did you notice I did not just say PGA? He was a terrific sales person. Aside from the cordial opening remarks, his first question to me was “What do you want to happen from this lesson?” He did not automatically assume he knew what I was expecting; he asked questions for the first 15 minutes of a 60 minute lesson. That was great! Far more importantly, he listened to what I said and then modified his lesson “on the fly” to adapt to what I (the customer) wanted or expected. When was the last time that happened to you? If you are in sales when was the last time you asked questions of your customer, listened and THEN responded with what the customer needed to know?