I am shopping for additional disability insurance, and the local agency I work with here had me talk to its disability insurance specialist. For the first 10 minutes of the call, this guy talked without interruption. He would ask me questions and then answer them himself. He would take guesses about my situation without actually pausing to let me explain my actual situation to him (If you don’t let the customer speak, the only option is to guess!).
On multiple occasions, I would start to speak, and the sales guy talked right over me, bulldozing his way to still more airtime. The only thing that saved this guy from me cutting the call short is that I like the agency and its owners and want to keep my business with them.
You cannot be a successful salesperson if you do all of the talking.
In fact, in a sales conversation, about 25% of the talking is the right amount for us salespeople, which means the customer should be allowed to think and speak for three-quarters of the conversation. This is the only way you can learn about the customer’s situation and needs.
Too many salespeople talk far more than this. What causes this? Ironically, it is the salesperson’s own discomfort and fear. They are afraid of saying the wrong thing, so they keep saying different things. They don’t want to offend the customer so they plow through every silence and do exactly that. The customer is not uncomfortable — only the ceaselessly yapping salesperson is.
How to Talk Less and Listen More
Here the keys to cutting down on the useless chatter that fills so many silences:
Know your great value and behave accordingly. Salespeople who keep talking don’t know how good they are. They don’t believe they can help the customer tremendously. All the talking is, in part, to convince themselves. If you know how good you are, you are confident enough to be comfortable with silences. You know that the customer is not quiet because they are angry, but because they are thinking. Let them think. How do you get your own tremendous value? Ask your happy customers about it. They’ll tell you. Ask them what their favorite things are about working with you. Believe what they say. Buy it from them. And then behave accordingly, with more silence in your conversations.
Ask a question and count (or sing a song) – but do not talk – until the customer answers. Ask a question and do not speak until the customer answers. Why would you interrupt their thinking? Furthermore, why would you interrupt their answer. So many people do! It’s easy to stand out in this crowd. Ask, and then stop and listen.
Pause for three seconds after the customer stops talking. During the give and take of conversations, one person stops talking. It is in this space that a good salesperson should pause and not speak immediately after the customer stops. Rather, count one-thousand-one, one- thousand-two, one-thousand-three. You’ll find that many times, the customer will think of something to say into this silence that you don’t even know to ask about. Thus, you will uncover valuable insights and information helpful to your sale.
Give your customers space to think and breathe. Don’t fill every silence with your nervous chatter. Ask a question and wait for the customer to answer it. That’s one of the great keys to sales success: listening. And it’s impossible to listen if you are the one doing all the talking.
Alex Goldfayn’s manufacturer and distributor clients add 10-20% additional annual sales that are traced directly to the work they do with Alex. To discuss growing your firm, call Alex directly at 847-459-6322 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.. Visit his website: www.Goldfayn.com.