This is a supplementary post to this one on Active Listening.
Feeling Feedback or Reflecting is a more advanced form of Active Listening. It incorporates Paraphrasing with a psychological dimension in that you must now assess and “reflect” the mental state of your dialog partner.
With Reflecting you don’t necessarily take on the prospect’s demeanor to show solidarity- that’s a technique called Mirroring which I will discuss in another post. Instead, you verbalize your prospect’s emotions for them.
|Prospect: “We just acquired a new PACS system and will need to digitize thousands of X-rays. Guess who’s job that will be?”
You: “Wow, I imagine you must hate the idea of hand-feeding those in to the scanner and coding them one by one.”
In psychotherapy, after the client/patient has made a statement, the therapist has the luxury of asking an exploratory question such as, “how does that make you feel?” In sales, we don’t often have sufficient rapport to ask so intimate a question and must resort to interpretation and guesswork.
Furthermore, the opportunities to use Feeling Feedback in a sales situation are harder to spot. You have to stay vigilant.
And finally, before you head down the rabbit hole with Feeling Feedback, you need to know in advance that you’re furthering your cause in some way by exploring the emotions attached to your prospect’s statements.
Just because you detected an opportunity for Reflection, doesn’t mean you must take it.
|Prospect: “I really like that 57″ model. The colors are really vibrant and it’s got great contrast- if only the Warriors could break their #!*@ losing streak, then I”d really enjoy watching them on this TV.”
You: “It must be really upsetting that your favorite basketball team keeps losing.”
What possible purpose could it serve to aggravate you’re prospect’s emotions about a tangential issue?
A more logical response might be: “It sounds like you’re very much into watching sports.” It confirms and reflects the emotional intensity but shifts the conversation in to a more neutral direction from where it will be easier to get back on track.
Practice, Practice, Practice
When you first start out with practicing this technique, you’re bound to get some cross-eyed looks, silences, and responses such as, “huh?” or “whatever gave you that idea?”
Don’t be discouraged, but make a mental note of what transpired and do better next time.