Written by Sean McPheat |
12 March, 2014
A few years ago I was privileged to hear an American speaker discuss what were the worst habits that salespeople displayed.
Among some of the answers that came up were poor listening, presenting the products too early and having a different agenda to the customer.
But one habit that shone out above most of the others was the inability to listen effectively because of dominating the conversation. The question was asked, ‘why is this so, since most salespeople know that listening to the needs of the client is a pre-requisite to gaining trust, building relationships and having that snowball’s chance of selling anything?’
Well, here are some perspectives on why they can’t stop giving it all the yap-yap-yap:
1) The customer needs to be educated about our product, so I have to tell them, don’t I?
Yes. But there’s a time that’s right to do it and …..
Too many salespeople think that if they speak a lot about their products and services, some of the mud they are throwing will stick. The truth is that the customer isn’t really bothered about the product. All they want to know is will it solve my problem or help me achieve my goals. That’s it. Period. You rabbiting on about you, your company and what you sell is bound to put off even a serious buyer.
2) It keeps me in control
Really? Why do you need to be in control all the time? And does you monopolising the conversation actually put you in control or just tee the customer off?
Actually, he who asks the most questions (and listens carefully and actively to the answers) actually controls the conversation. Think about it for a moment. When you ask a question, you are controlling the thought processes of the prospect. Your power questions enable you to formulate the thoughts of the other person and helps you to direct the conversation. So, in fact, speaking less and listening more puts you more in control.
3) It’s easier than having to plan
Yes, this is true, as well. Just ‘winging’ it by using your extensive product knowledge may blind the prospect with science and technology, but it’s no substitute for planning and preparing the sales call effectively in order to gain the best possible result for you and the prospect.
Being aware of why you might be talking yourself out of a commitment from the prospect may be the best conscious decision you can make. By building a questioning process that drives the information-gathering from the prospect, you find the ideal way to stop yourself from talking to much and building good rapport with the prospect who may well become your client.