Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Let’s face it. Salespeople talk too much.
We work hard to get appointments and want to make the best use of our time. We have to get through 56 slides.
We like the sound of our own voices.
Yet, the best sales calls are when the salesperson isn’t the only one talking.
If you’re in sales, you’ll learn a lot more when you are not speaking.
And you need to learn:
Why the prospect may be unhappy
What the prospect likes about his current vendor
What might be done to improve his current situation
What he does for fun and a little about his family
[Here’s the video version of this article. Subscribe to Michael’s YouTube channel (click the silver bell) to be notified of new videos as they are posted.]
Skin in the game
When salespeople talk too much, the entire dynamic of the relationship shifts in the wrong direction.
There are five main reasons to involve the prospect in the selling process:
Shared communication is the decent thing to do.
When you show interest in others, others will show interest in you.
Listening is good practice.
Make sure the prospect has skin in the game, so you’re not doing all the work.
Balanced communication results in a strong relationship.
Prospects, like most people, don’t like to just be told how to order and other details about how to work with you. They like to take part in the process and maybe even contribute in creative ways.
Given the chance, the prospect will tell you what’s wrong with your offer and what could be better.
Learn more by asking non-binary (open) questions that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”.
More on the difference between open and closed questions in this blog post.
Probe to “the fifth level” by asking the same question in five different ways:
How are things going?
What could be better?
How long has this been going on?
What do you mean by that?
What else would help?
Take care not to rattle off the questions too quickly, so you don’t turn your gentle inquiry into an inquisition.
Keep the balance
Finally, avoid “paid friendship” situations where you as the salesperson are jumping through hoops just for the privilege of another meeting.
It costs, money, time and other resources to attend meetings with prospects, so if the person isn’t buying, you may be in a paid friendship relationship.