Are You Using Your Peripheral Hearing?

Peripheral HearingBy John Burwell, Jr., Service and Sales Coach

You’ve no doubt heard of peripheral vision; seeing things that are just outside of your direct line of sight, the not so obvious. But have you heard of peripheral hearing? It does exist and everyone has experienced it, you just may not be aware of it.

Peripheral hearing is defined as hearing auditory information on a subconscious level but not quite fully processing what is heard.

Have you ever been watching TV and someone is talking to you at the same time? You are either giving your attention to the TV, missing fully what the person is saying (key word here is fully) or the other way around. Either way, it’s impossible for most people to fully process the information from both sources at the same time.

When it comes to staying connected to our customer in the service/sales experience, tuning in to peripheral hearing is key is assuring we gather as much useful and relevant information as possible.

While on a recent ride along I observed both peripheral vision and peripheral hearing. In some instances the information was captured while others were missed.

In this case we were called out to give a quote on a tankless water heater. When we pulled up we saw in our peripheral vision:

  • A new garage door being installed
  • 4 very energetic dogs
  • A wife studying
  • An adult son

In our peripheral hearing:

  • The wife’s test was for a psych class
  • The husband was back for 30 days from his job oversees
  • The husbands job sometimes keeps him from his family 3-5 months at a time

There was a lot going on here, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

As we began asking questions of the wife, the husband and the 19 year old son we were given even more valuable information. However, when three people are talking, it’s very difficult to capture all that’s being said, and not being said.

This one simple technique can help you maximize the peripheral information coming at you both visually and auditorially.

Take a few good notes from the things you are hearing. Then elaborate with each person individually to get their viewpoint and to make sure you got it.

This will serve you later when you sit down to go over options because now you have more information. In our case we had 3 times as much because we got perspective from each person. In addition, you’re validating each person which will increase the number of sponsors you have on the job.

Giving attention to your peripheral hearing increases the likelihood that you will recall more information, compile better notes, and gather more clarifying information from all parties.

We ended up with a very thorough service experience for our customer that generated multiple tasks and over $9,000 in revenue. A success all the way around.


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