Talk Less; Listen More
The two hardest things to teach salespeople are to speak up and to shut up. The bad ones don’t speak up and the good ones (too many times) don’t shut up. When good salespeople learn the art and timing of shutting up they become great salespeople. Selling comes down to a verbal exchange between two people. The single most important exchange of information takes place between the salesperson and the customer. This is where the decisions are made that have the greatest impact on your income and company’s cash flow. It’s pretty simple actually; it all comes down to talking and listening. Too many times the salesperson thinks that the talking part is most important. It makes no difference how smooth your delivery is if the customer isn’t listening.
A fast talking salesperson out to get your money is an instant turn-off. If you are talking at a faster rate than your customers are listening, they may fail to hear some very important information. Salespeople, intent on making the sale sometimes start thinking about their responses before the customer finishes talking. Give the customer a chance to talk. Missing one key point from your customer could easily cost you a sale. You will enjoy more selling success by concentrating more on what your customer is saying than what you want to say back. Listening when you want to talk can be difficult if it is not your habit. Developing good listening skills is like establishing any other habit. Practice; but you need to be certain that you are practicing the right way, not the wrong way. Practice this at home and in your social activities so that when you find yourself with a customer it will come more natural. Keep your ego in your back pocket and listen to your customer. Your time will come, and when it does, your presentation will more likely be on target than if you jump in assuming that you know what the customer is about to say.
Remember also that non verbal communication is revealing as well. Watch as you listen to pick up on small body language messages that can keep you in synch with your customer’s thinking. And always remember that selling is for the customer more than you. Your customers are most likely to have what they buy from you much longer than you will have the money they give you.