Somewhere along the way, some not-so-smart guy or gal suggested that in order to excel in sales, it would work in their favor if they were blessed with the “gift of gab.” Nothing (spelled N O T H I N G) could be further from the truth. Let’s see if I can dispel this notion.
Flash back, if you can, to the movie Cool Hand Luke starring Paul Newman. The warden in the movie was a tough guy who also had it wrong when he reminded Paul Newman that “what we have here is a failure to communicate.” Nope! Wrong again.
These are two areas in our sales repertoire that need a small adjustment. Speaking excessively and communicating in general.
There are a few things that we do have and must lose rapidly if not sooner.
- What we do have is a failure to ask better questions.
- What we do have are sales people who feel that it is their job to fill the air with the sound of their own voice.
- What we do have (in epidemic proportion) is a severe lack of listening, hearing, interpreting, and internalizing information as it is offered by our prospects and clients.
Questions are the answer:
- What do you think?
- How long have you felt that way?
- Can you expand on that list?
- Can you think of a better way?
- Is there a particular reason or recent experience that makes you think that way?
- Do you have any other feelings on that particular subject?
- Are you planning to do something about it?
- Why on God’s green earth would you ever decide to be a Met’s fan?
- What? Why? How? When? Why not?
For you people who need some empirical data, you can try these percentages on for size: 75%-80% of any sales conversation should consist of the sound of the prospect’s voice. (This advice is a lot easier to type than to follow.)
If you don’t like my percentages, make up a few of your own. Just don’t fall into the 50-50 trap. In fact, I am considering editing my numbers to 90-10.
You get my point.
Mike Marchev is a down-to-earth motivating sales trainer, author and business coach who specializes in the travel industry. For a complimentary copy of Mike’s 12-Word Marketing Plan send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the number “12” in the Subject Box. His daily column is made possible by AmaWaterways.