In this Issue:
Listening has been identified as the most important communication skill, but, unfortunately, it's also the one at which most of us are the least efficient.
Three ways to improve our capacity to listen include:
"Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening."
"A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he knows something."
"Information is giving out; communication is getting through"
Paul Charles & Associates
The "Terrible Too's" & How to Fix Them
It’s a simple fact – too many sales people talk too much and listen too little.
While it may come as no surprise to buyers and decision-makers, it’s a concept regularly rejected by sellers, who most often consider themselves to be "excellent" or "good" communicators.
Yet the “terrible too’s” are common among sales people, and can sabotage a sales effort in a number of ways.
To begin with, talking too much often alienates other people. We have all experienced annoying situations in which someone talks so much we can’t get a word in – to agree or disagree!
Too much talking can also send some very undesirable implied messages to those we “speak at,” such as:
- You’re not important
- I don’t care what you think
- I don’t have time to listen to you
- My opinion is all that matters
But in selling situations there is an added risk. When a sales person places too much focus on what he or she is saying or planning to say next, their ability to listen is compromised. When sales people fail to listen, there’s a good chance they will be “talking” about the wrong things – things that customers or prospects do not prioritize or value.
So not only do we jeopardize our relationship with potential buyers if we talk too much, but we’re also likely to misunderstand their needs, miss buying signals and key interests, fail to recognize objections and – even worse – fail to earn their respect.
The first step towards a more balanced communication approach is to avoid making sales “pitches” and instead engage others into selling conversations in which a more even exchange of information takes place.
Set a target “talk/listen” ratio (T/L) before sales calls or conversations, and make a concerted effort to stick to it. As a rule-of-thumb, the ratio should never involve talking more than half the time. Listen carefully and take notes; pay attention to and assess each customer’s communication style, knowledge level, priorities, concerns, interests and true needs.
Making regular use of these notes as post-meeting scorecards is also a good way to monitor progress and improve technique.
If nothing else, avoiding the “terrible too’s” might result in being thought of as a better conversationalist, as those perceived as being more interested in others are frequently considered to be more interesting!
Ultimately, “talk less and listen more” is a good selling strategy.
Maybe Calvin Coolidge summed it up best when he said, “No man ever listened himself out of a job!”
Volume 419 - The "5th" P
As you may know, these basic principles are commonly referred to as the four “P’s” of marketing: Product, Price, Placement, and Promotion. But there is still one more critical ingredient that will, ultimately, separate your approach from those of your competitors! Read more...
Volume 319: Are You Working On It or In It?
We are constantly challenged to make important decisions about being both efficient and effective... about spending time working both “in” our business and “on” our business. The question is, how much time should we spend on each? Read more...
Volume 219: Sales Leads
Looking at a familiar phrase from a different perspective, how does your organization's leadership support or impact the selling process? Read more...
Volume 119: Assume the Sale, But Never the Reason
It's the New Year, and time to reflect on how we can improve our sales effort. Successful sales professionals are able to more effectively close sales not because they are silver-tongued or aggressive when it comes to asking for the business, but rather because they are diligent and proficient when it comes to implementing three important things. Read more...