Shut Your Mouth!
I like to talk. And I’m really good at it.
I suspect, as salespeople, most of you really like to talk, too. And you also think you are really good at it. Which is good, because having an ease with people and being able to talk to just about anyone at any time is a strong quality to have when you are trying to sell for a living.
However, there is a time and a place when shutting up is just as—if not more—important.
We think we have all the answers, and that if customers would just listen to us, we could make their lives easier, make their problems go away, and all would be right with the world. But here’s the thing…selling today is a complicated bag of tricks. So before we go putting words in our prospects’ mouths, we had better just shut up and let them tell us what we need to know in order to move the conversation closer to something that looks like a close for us and a problem solved for them.
The next time you ask a question, ask the question, take a deep breath, and listen to the answer.
- I don’t care if that prospect stares at you dumbly and says nothing for 10 minutes.
- I don’t CARE if you’re uncomfortable.
- I don’t care if you feel like squirming.
Squirm. But damn it, let the dude tell you what’s on his mind.
Here are some examples of questions that you SHOULD be asking and that absolutely require your silence upon delivery.
- Why is that important to you?
- How will this decision impact your business?
- What if you do nothing?
- How will this decision ultimately be made?
- When do you plan to make this decision?
You need to know your prospects’ answers to these types of questions; not what you think she’ll say or what you WANT her tol say, but what she actually SAYS.
Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.