Why Good Listening is Not Enough
Most sales people talk too much.
Particularly those who are not that successful.
I've often give out the rule of thumb that you should be listening more than 70% of the time and talking less than 30% of the time when you are with your prospects and customers.
But listening itself is not enough.
Yes, if you shut your trap, and listen more, you will get more useful information from your prospects.
But the quality and value of the information you get from your prospects depends largely on what you say during that 30% of the time that you are talking.
Now if you are going to be listening more, and getting really good, really useful info out of your prospects, it follows that what you gotta be doing is asking really good questions.
Open ended questions may have sounded like the answer when you heard of them. But just saying "I am going to ask lots of open-ended questions today" is not enough of a strategy for a successful sales call. It not enough because such a thought process doesn't provide enough direction your prospects.
Your job is to direct and control the conversation. Don't let the prospect control you.
Don't walk out of a sales call, or get off the phone, and think "Gee I did a good job, they did most of the talking, and they told me exactly what they wanted."
Your job is to challenge what they tell you, to ask questions that get to the reasons why they say they want what they want, why they are in the market now for something, how committed they are too doing something, and who's career get's helped or hurt by acting or not acting right now.
That's the kind of high-value information that you need to be listening for.
And unless you ask the questions that get people to tell you this stuff, it will take you months of "relationship building" meetings to get it, IF you ever get it at all.
So yes, shutting up is important.
Listening 70% or more of the time is important.
But asking for the right information, sooner rather than later is what makes the difference between the 60% of quota salesman and the 160% of quota salesman.
Sell with Pride,
Shameless Shamus Brown
P.S. You really need to *listen* to my Persuasive Questioning Techniques sales course included in the Persuasive Selling Skills Audio Program. In it you will learn my simple and specific techniques for extracting the high-value information out of your prospects that enables you to get control of every deal fast.