Written by Sean McPheat |
Years ago I heard a piece of advice that is now committed the dustbin of time, and quite rightly too.
Have you ever heard someone say ‘Oh, he has the gift of the gab; he should be in sales”?
Ever heard that?
Well, it may have been true in the days of snake-oil salespeople, where suckers queued up to buy from guys who could manipulate their way into anyone’s wallet simply by blinding them with science or speaking so much it overwhelmed the prospect into saying ‘yes’ even though they hadn’t got a clue what they were buying!
But today’s world won’t stand for the over-the-top, over-enthusiastic stand-and-deliver artiste who is totally full of himself.
As the saying goes, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and people think you’re a fool, than open it and remove all doubt”.
Ever thought how long you should be talking in a meeting and how long the prospect should be talking?
There’s no hard and fast rule, but general consensus has it that the prospect should be talking about 75% of the time.
What are the reasons for this? Here’s three:
If you’re talking, you’re not learning about their problems and opportunities
No-one ever learns anything while they are talking, so offer the chance for the prospect to tell you their problems.
Build on those problems so he sees the need to do something about them, and quickly.
Unless the prospect is verbalising and revealing the problem, it isn’t a problem. Or at least, not to him.
When the prospect is talking, they often reveal incremental information on top of the basics
Remember, the quality of the questions we ask will determine the quality of the answers we receive.
The better the questions, the deeper the information you’ll receive.
The more information you receive, the better-equipped you will be to uncover the real needs and see what you can do for their future.
Some salespeople have said that their prospects get defensive if a whole load of questions get sent their way
My answer to that is ‘prospects would rather talk about their business problems and opportunities than listen to your features and benefits’.
Their business is their favourite subject, so encourage them to open up and talk about it.
You will learn an awful lot more that way about what really matters to them than if you concentrate on presenting your products.
By listening more, you uncover a lot of information that will prove beneficial when your turn comes around to discuss solutions.
Stop thinking that the more you talk, the more your prospects will be impressed by your smartness.
Actually, the opposite is true.
They get fed up with smart-alecs. What they want is someone who can prove they have listened effectively and solve the issues that they are facing at the moment.
Learn to listen more and talk less. Not only will you sell more; you’ll learn more too.
Originally published: 20 April, 2016