Celeste’s voice popped through the airwaves. “Hello?” she said.
Celeste Headlee, a conversation expert, author, and acclaimed journalist, started her conversation on the Voice of Value podcast just as anyone else might: with a simple hello.
But what follows that greeting, as Celeste has found in her research, is not as simple.
In fact, Celeste’s Ted Talk and its 11 million views suggests that how to have meaningful conversations is a challenge we all face. As leaders in commercial sales and marketing, we were fascinated by Celeste’s area of expertise. After all, strong customer relationships require one foundational skill—the ability to have conversations that matter.
In the following audio clip, Celeste shares a story that illustrates the life and death consequences of conversation.
It’s been snowing, icy, and cold. The plane is loaded full of passengers who have been waiting much longer than expected for take-off. Everyone is exhausted, angry, and impatient.
In the midst of this, the pilot and copilot have to make a decision. Will they de-ice the plane’s engine one more time, or takeoff into the sky to keep their passengers from getting any more upset?
They chose the latter option: takeoff.
Almost immediately after they went airborne, the plane began to go down.
Listen to the story to find out what happens, and how the story influenced Celeste’s work on conversations:
In We Need to Talk, Celeste discusses the art of conversation and offers tools to improve in this area. A few key points from her book include:
We’ve all heard that in sales, you have two ears and one mouth for a reason: we need to be listening way more than we’re talking. Most of us earnestly believe we are good listeners—but are we?
After an introductory meeting with a prospect, would you be able to recap the meeting with the items listed below in such a way that the prospect would read and answer, “that’s right.” To do this well, we must listen carefully.
Below is an example of a Promise-to-Proceed letter. Key components of the letter are:
In order to capture the points above, it’s critical to actively listen to customers.
If you’d like to see examples of Promise to Proceed letter that the team at Ecosystems has developed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will send you generic examples.
To learn more about Celeste’s research and her latest book, click here.