Written By: Debbie Jung
John Westman has studied top 1% performance since 1985. He has taught at Harvard Continuing Education School and Boston College since 2005. He works as a VP for Citius Pharmaceuticals, and is founder of the Client-Champion company which is part of a movement to make sales a trusted profession.
Since teaching for 18 years at Harvard Extension School and Boston College, John has accumulated extensive experience in sales management, marketing, business development, and strategic partnerships. He currently works as a VP of Project Management at Citius Pharmaceuticals.
Neuroscience teaches us that when a person talks about something they care about, they produce dopamine and improve their mood. When that same person thinks someone is listening, they produce even more dopamine and their feeling of happiness is partly attributed to being with the person who is listening to them. So, you can give someone the gift of dopamine by asking them questions and listening to them.
Per the Trust Equation, trustworthiness is the addition of credibility, reliability, and intimacy, divided by the most important factor - self-orientation. When we welcome the client or colleague to speak about their professional life, day-to-day activities, or anything they care about, we learn about them and it opens the conversation to endless possibilities. Listening to the client or colleague is an obvious other-oriented (vs. self-oriented) activity and listening builds trust and allows you to create a connection that other competitors might not have. People who are friendly to each other tell each other things that they don’t tell others who are not friendly to them. “Business friends” tell and do things for each other that they do not tell non-friends. Top 1% performers create friends because friends help each other even more than “business friends”.
There are physical behaviors to follow to show the other person that you're actively listening. These behaviors include direct eye contact, smiling, posture, mirroring, and the list can go on forever. John asked the Mercury team, "While listening to a customer, do you tend to also think of your reply?" while most of our team responded no; his poll shows that most responded yes – 88.3%.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Author: Stephen Covey
When you listen to understand vs. respond, you hear their voice instead of your own. You listen to words, tone of voice, body language and what is said and what is left unsaid. To be a great communicator, listen with the intent to be fully present and pay attention to the other person's voice and point of view. Active listening brings clarity to the other parties' words and messages, so your response can be created after you have fully seen, heard and understood the other person.
Engaging in dialogue with active listening and trust will bring two people closer than ever before. “Proximity doesn’t connect people, conversation does.” Many active listening behaviors – eye contact, nodding, etc. - are displayed physically, meaning human-to-human interaction is always preferred. As John quoted, "If you care, you are there."
Mercury constantly strives for improvement, demonstrating our client obsession and cultivating world-class teamwork. As a team, we have discovered the value of building trust with our clients, and we recognize that this approach can also be applied internally among our team as we continue to evolve. We thank John for enriching us with his sales and high performance expertise, and we acknowledge that the entire Mercury team greatly benefited from his teachings.