When was the last time you were in a conversation with someone only to realize they were just waiting for their turn to talk? The difference between passive and active listening is obvious to any speaker. As a life insurance agent , active listening is key to building trusting relationships with your clients and recruits.
Here we will break down what active listening looks like, ways to flex those listening muscles and how engaging with your clients can power your business. So, pull up a chair and listen closely as we roll out the importance of active listening.
The next time you’re in a one-on-one conversation with someone, and it’s your turn to talk, pay attention to the person listening. Does it feel like they’re genuinely listening or more in their own head? How does the conversation change, and your confidence in speaking, when you can tell the other person is actively taking in what you have to say?
These are important things to consider when putting yourself in the position of the listener. Be the listener you want to be speaking to, and truly engage with the person whether it’s across a table or a screen. By considering what you value in a good listener you can put those considerations to use, listen better and learn more about the person you’re speaking with.
When it comes to active listening, body language goes a long way in making the speaker feel relaxed and engaged. When working with your clients (or meeting with potential recruits) your body language will reflect how active a listener you are.
This first point might be obvious, but by centering yourself in front of the speaker you’re showing that they have your full attention. As simple as it may sound, make sure you’re facing your client or recruit during the conversation.
At the risk of pushing physical boundaries, get as close as comfortable when listening. Also keep in mind the other person's boundaries, no one likes a "close talker." As a life insurance agent, a lot of your conversations with clients will be sensitive. By moving closer you can highlight the care you take when having those conversations.
Nothing shows your speaker that you’re listening closely like an interested head tilt. As far as body language goes, it might be the most obvious sign that you’re lending an ear and truly soaking in everything they have to say.
Arguably the most important piece of body language is eye contact. Make sure you make eye contact and maintain it during your conversation. Eye contact helps the speaker feel heard and understood. If you have to take notes, try and make them short so that you can be looking into the eyes of your speaker as they’re talking.
This should go without saying, but you must give your client or recruit (or anyone you’re in conversation with) your uninterrupted attention. Nothing can make someone feel more unheard than an invasive phone call or watch check.
When you’re being spoken to, be sure that listening is your only responsibility – your only source of concern. Any hard work you put into the conversation can evaporate with one unnecessary interruption.
Whether you’re on a computer screen or speaking in person, removing barriers is a great way to deepen your conversations. If you’re at a table, move any plants, bowls of fruit or other things that might be in the way of your conversation. For virtual calls, just be sure there aren’t any distracting foreground features that can take away from the conversation.
Like body language, gestures can influence how you’re engaging with the speaker. To that end, if you can match the general language and intensity of the speaker’s gestures, you can illustrate that you’re both on the same page.
If you notice they are using a lot of hand movements, feel free to do the same. If instead, they’re mostly only speaking with their face, consider keeping your hand gestures to a minimum. Reflecting you’re the speaker’s gestures is a great way to make them feel more comfortable.
Listening is only half of the equation, and how you respond can be just as important to the information you’ve been soaking in. That’s why it is critical that your responses after listening match your active listening skills. One way to illustrate those skills is to pause before responding.
If a client or recruit has finished speaking, you do not need to talk right away. In fact, that can sometimes feel like you haven’t fully absorbed what they’ve said to you.
Instead, thoroughly reflect on what has been said to you before responding. You’ll be surprised by how much your responses will change when you’re being more intentional.
By actively listening to your clients and recruits, you can help shape meaningful connections with them while illustrating your desire to help them find the coverage they need. Through body language, paying attention and intentional responses, you can become a better listener for your clients, recruits and anyone you find yourself in conversation with.
Whether it’s someone looking for a product to solve their financial goals or a career that gives them a work-life balance , by practicing active listening you can establish yourself as a trustworthy source who does more than nod on cue.
As a Symmetry agent, you will have access to high-quality life insurance, disability income insurance, critical illness insurance, and annuity products from more than 30 well-known insurance companies. This gives you the flexibility and reach you need to tailor plans to meet clients' individual coverage needs.
To learn more about how to begin a fulfilling career as a life insurance agent, contact us today .