My dog barks – a lot! And for a small Maltese, his bark is really LOUD, too.
If you have spent any time around dogs, you have probably spent days, months or years – like I have – trying to decipher what each bark means.
Some barks are easy. The warning bark, the threatening bark, the happy bark, even the “I’m hungry!” bark.
The other day, my dog, Tex (so named because he THINKS he is big!), was riding with me in the car when I went to get gas. Although he often sits in my car and barks (like I said LOUDLY) at motorcycles and bicycles going by, he usually stands quietly at my window while I pump gas in my car.
This time, he started barking wildly at another car that pulled up on the other side of the pump. It sounded to me like he was doing the “I really hate motorcycles” bark, but it was just a car and two people who got out to show ID and pump gas. This barking bothered me and I scolded Tex and tried to quiet him, but he kept at it. I then turned to look at the people from the other car and realized that the lady was someone he knew (she worked at the bank and I often carried him with me when I went in to conduct business there).
He was barking at the lady. And, even though I have heard him barking for 8 years, I realized that I hadn’t really ‘heard’ this bark. He was not barking at her wildly or madly or threateningly at all; he was barking at a friend and just wanted her attention, like he often got at the bank.
Sure enough, as soon as I asked her to come over and say ‘Hi’ to Tex, he calmed down and his tail was wagging like crazy. He just wanted her to recognize him, talk to him, and pet him on the head.
I got to thinking…
How often do we ‘mis-hear’ what our prospects (friends or strangers) are saying to us? Do we misinterpret their words, body language, and pregnant pauses as disinterest or even downright hostility?
Maybe what they are really saying is “Do you really care about me and what I want?” Or “When are you going to get off the ‘pitch’ and talk to me like a real person?” Or “Tell me how you are going to help ME with my problems instead of how much my wallet will help YOU!”
By listening to our prospects and by choosing to speak with friendliness and curiosity, we may just find that it is not that difficult to get them to consider looking at our proposition (product or opportunity). We may find that recognizing, paying attention to, and honoring the people we talk with often work more to our advantage than bluster, pitches, and ‘guilt trips’ do.
The lesson I learned from Tex is to listen to the barks with a more open mind. How about you?
‘Listen’ to this: