In the business world, the signal to noise ratio can often times get skewed with everyone trying to make an impact. All entrepreneurs have a sales pitch, and people frequently put out information rather than taking it in. In order to be successful, it pays to listen.

Listen to what’s not being said

When talking with other entrepreneurs, listen to what they are really saying. The average person may hear a sales spiel or a confident explanation about the business structure. But hidden in there are needs which are being conveyed by the words that aren’t being used. Phrases such as “poised for growth” may indicate that a business is wants to take the next step, but it is lacking a certain element make that move. That “certain element” may mean working capital, technology, relationships with other businesses, or something dovetailing with your own business. This leads us to the next aspect…

Entrepreneurs Should Ask questions

Entrepreneurs in every industry are very proud of their accomplishments and the businesses they have started from scratch. The best way to figure out if a business will allow you to start a professional relationship and if you can fit their needs is to ask questions. By asking questions, entrepreneurs will be more than happy to engage you and let you know if there is something they need that you can offer. If your own business could benefit from referrals from another company, then focus and learn as much as you can during trade conventions and chance meetings.

Save the analysis for after the conversation

Often, when people are speaking, we start an inner commentary on everything that is being said. This can be drawback because that running commentary frequently overshadows what the other person is saying. When entrepreneurs do this, they miss out on opportunities for potential sales and partnerships. Try to keep the inner peanut gallery to a dull roar.

Use critical thinking

Just because you minimize the running commentary in your head, does not mean you should turn off your critical thinking skills when listening to other entrepreneurs. People have been able to pick up on the needs of other businesses, sales leads, and trends simply by listening to what other entrepreneurs have to say, and waiting until all is said and done before asking questions or engaging in conversation.

All entrepreneurs have important things to say, but my listening, asking the right questions, and being able to distill what is being said – you can begin to develop some very successful professional relationships which can lead to more sales for your business.