You are a compassionate human being who has chosen to earn an income by representing a company and its products.
You believe in the products. You have embraced the business model and comp plan.
And you are beginning to realize that not everyone shares your point of view.
With the best of intentions, your upline tells you that it is a numbers game. All you have to do is so many presentations a day.
But now you realize that approach doesn’t work for you; it isn’t you.
The biggest reason you have not felt successful with old school techniques is your agenda.
Doing 5 presentations a day. Doing 1 presentation a day. Doing X number of presentations a day is an agenda. And that unwittingly is setting you up to fail.
The Five Listening Skills work best when you release any agenda you may have.
The good news is that the Five Listening Skills help you release your agenda.
By now you have released your agenda if you have used Reflective Listening, Interpretive Listening, and Helpful Questions.
As a result, you believe you understand what your friend wants and doesn’t want. You are positioned to be their best friend by giving them Supportive Feedback.
Most of us don’t want to be told what we should do which is why old school network marketing gives our profession a bad name.
Instead, you are going to give your friend feedback that tells her what you have heard her say and you will express the emotions that you have about her choice with Supportive Feedback.
It will feel comfortable if you have patiently listened with Reflective Listening, Interpretive Listening, and Helpful Questions.
What does Supportive Feedback sound like? There is a formula that you should follow that will require a little practice but once you have mastered Supportive Feedback you will be ready for the Confident Close.
Here is the basic framework of Supportive Feedback:
I feel [fill in the specific feeling you have]
when [state the specific statement your friend has made]
because [give your specific, personal reason for feeling the way you do]
Did you notice that you must be specific and you will need to own your feelings?
Your Supportive Feedback should always start with “I feel.” Until now you have focused on what your friend was feeling and thinking.
Now you need to ask yourself a few questions, like:
- How do I feel? If you were posting on Facebook what emoji would you use? Are you feeling confused, disappointed, concerned, anxious, perturbed, glad, relieved? There are many more emotions. It may help you to make a list of feelings and emotions. As a rule, our culture does not recognize feelings. You need to become comfortable with your emotions and help your friend to do so as well. Once, you have identified what you are feeling, you have the first element of your Supportive Feedback.
- For the second element, you must identify what about the situation is making you feel this way. Use pronoun “you” carefully so you don’t make Supportive Feedback feel like an accusation.
It would be better to say:
I feel disappointed when I hear you say…
Than: I feel disappointed when you say…
- Finally, you need to communicate to your friend why it makes you feel this way. You will own your feelings.
You can express a positive emotion or feeling like this:
You have listened to your friend talk about wanting to quit her job. She has said that she is willing to do whatever she must to be able to stay at home with her children.
I feel so hopeful
when you say that you are willing to do whatever
because there are lots of women in my company who are seeing great success while working from home.
You can express a negative emotion or feeling like this:
You have been listening to your sister talk about how frustrated she is by billing paying. She has concluded that there is nothing she can do and will say nothing.
I feel sad
when I hear you plan to do nothing to change the billing paying routine
because I know you have several options available to you.
You use Supportive Feedback to:
- Role model open, honest and direct communication.
- Communicate what you are feeling so your friend doesn’t need to guess.
- Ensure that you recognize and own your feelings.
- Move towards a Confident Close.
You may find Supportive Feedback hard because:
- You may have difficulty recognizing and/or expressing emotions.
- You may not believe that the structure of I feel, when, because is important.
- Using these elements will feel awkward until you have practiced them.
- You may be tempted to bring your agenda to the table. If this listening skill it is to be supportive you must let your friend’s agenda still be the driving factor.
Supportive Feedback is vital because:
- It clarifies your conversation.
- It allows you to direct the conversation to a conclusion.
- It establishes you as a leader who will serve and not manipulate.
- It helps you support your friend in the best decision for them.
- You still must guard against your agenda ruling the conversation.
- Communicates to your friend that you put her first and will support her decision.
- It opens the door to a Confident Close.
Practice makes good; more practice makes better.
Practicing Supportive Feedback
Take each scenario and use the basic framework of Supportive Feedback to lead your conversation to the Confident Close. These scenarios are fiction so you can use a little fiction with what you might have learned in the first part of your conversation. The important thing is to get comfortable with the framework of Supportive Feedback and to keep it focused on your friend’s agenda, not yours.
- I feel [fill in the emotion or feeling you are experiencing.]
- When [fill in with what makes you feel that way. Use pronoun “you” carefully so you don’t make your Supportive Feedback feel like an accusation.]
- Because [fill in with why it makes you feel the emotion or feeling that you do.]
Use pronoun “you” carefully so you don’t make your Supportive Feedback feel like an accusation.
You want a statement like this:
I feel______________ when ___________________ because ______________________________.
- Your sister has told you she hates paying bills because money is tight. She says that she is ready to do something different to get different results.
- Your best friend says that she wants to work from home and is going to start back with the direct selling company she was with before – it isn’t your company and she quit because she didn’t like the customer service or her up line.
- Your sister says that she would love to take your essential oils but they cost too much. She is going to get some from Vitamin Cottage.
- Your friend says that she loves your products and will be a customer but that she doesn’t have time to be a distributor.
- Your friend says that she needs to do the business but she is so afraid of sharing with people.
Well done. You are almost done. When used to focus on your friend’s agenda the four listening skills Reflective Listening, Interpretive Listening, Helpful Questions, and Supportive Feedback have brought you to the Confident Close. You can be confident because you better understand the friend you have been listening to. You have a clearer idea of what she wants and how your products and company opportunity might fit in.
You are ready for Don’t Leave Your Friend or Your Business Hanging: Execute a Confident Close.