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Salespeople, You Need to Shut Up!

Young man with glued mouth and question mark symbols

It cannot be said often enough, and Stephen J. Meyer recently said it very well with an insightful article in Forbes magazine.

And that is that basically, salespeople should shut up and listen to clients.

Otherwise, how do you have a decent chance of getting the information you need to service them?

Anyone who’s ever had sales training has had it drilled into them that when they are with clients they have to talk less and listen more.  Yet as the article points out, studies show that the average salesperson talks most of the time in a selling situation.  One piece of research puts that at an incredible 81% of the time.  What are these people doing in those sales courses?  Sitting there with fingers in their ears?

Actually, perhaps we shouldn’t be giving salespeople such a hard time, because the article highlighted studies that showed that we can’t resist the urge to talk about ourselves even when there is a financial inducement not to do so.  It’s all down to the part of the brain that’s associated with reward and satisfaction.  Basically, we blab ME ME ME because it makes us feel good, so we do it even more to feel even better.  It’s like eating Haribos or Pringles; we just can’t stop.

Given that it appears we are hardwired to talk and not listen (which is very bad news for the salesperson), how can we escape what’s in our DNA?  Meyer’s article provides a number of useful points, including answering questions with single sentence responses and breaking the flow of your conversation by stopping to ask questions. He also suggests something he calls the “30-60-second rule”. You talk freely for 30 seconds and then look for a place to stop yakking before you reach the minute.

If you’re the kind of salesperson who is in transmission mode for most of the time you’re with a prospect, I urge you to read the article and profit from its valuable ways of stopping the verbal diarrhoea.

Relevant Articles

Why Ask, When You Don’t Listen??

5 Ways to Listen Better: And A Great Listening Model

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