As far back as I can remember there has been a saying that good salespeople have the gift of gab.
For the last 30 years or so I’ve known that saying to be utterly false. Good salespeople, actually great salespeople, truly professional salespeople, don’t have the gift of gab, they have the gift of listen.
You’ll never hear a truly professional salesperson say that they “talked” anyone into doing anything. The best salespeople actually listen far more than they talk. They don’t want to sell people stuff that they don’t need. They want to help them buy products and services that help their customer receive a real benefit in return.
Great salespeople ask great questions of their customers knowing full well that if they ask the right questions what follows are honest answers that will help them help their customer.
Once they ask great questions then they listen and they don’t just listen to respond, they listen to understand. They linger on the words of their customer until they fully understand the needs and wants of their customer. If for any reason they don’t fully understand they will ask more questions until they do. What they never do is guess. They don’t guess at what their customer might need or what they might want, they ask great questions and then they listen until they understand.
They listen as if that particular customer is the only customer in the world because they know that, in that moment, they are in fact the only customer that matters.
If you want to know how you measure up to the best sales professionals in the world consider this: the best sales professionals listen more than twice as much as they talk. 70% of their interactions with a customer are invested in listening and only 30% are spent talking. For average salespeople those percentages are just about reversed.
You will never learn how to help your customer by talking to them, talking just starts the communications process. Listening to your customer helps you learn how to help them, listening completes the communications process.
So… are you listening yet?