Simple Ways To Speak Less And Listen More In Sales
The secret to closing more sales is sometimes as simple as embracing silence. When you are visiting with a customer or prospect and the conversation lulls, it can feel uncomfortable riding out the silence. You want to keep moving the conversation forward and show how you provide value.
However, Les Lent, a sales trainer, coach and consultant, advises sales professionals to allow space for silence. It’s in these moments, he says, that you can learn something invaluable you may not have caught otherwise.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Lent’s simple tips for speaking less and listening more in sales meetings.
Take a two-second pause. Remember that you do not have to awkwardly wait through long pauses. Two seconds is all you need, says Lent. When your client says something, pause for two seconds before responding or answering their question. While it may seem like an uncomfortably long time to wait, make it habit to mentally count “one-one thousand, two-one thousand.” There’s a good chance that the buyer will have taken that pause to provide more information.
Ask the buyer to elaborate on something. Your customer or prospect is familiar with sales conversations. They are accustomed to answering certain questions and not divulging too much information. This is an opportunity for you to prompt them to learn more. You can say something like “Why is that?” or “Can you tell me more about that?” Lent notes that asking a follow-up question improves the likelihood of learning new and helpful information.
Avoid interrupting. No one likes to be interrupted. Still, Lent says many sales professionals jump in and interrupt when a potential buyer is speaking. When you interject your own thoughts or questions while your customer or prospect is speaking, you interrupt their train of thought. You also come across as rude and may lose the business. If you are excited to share something or have a question, always wait your turn to speak. Silence is golden, says Lent.
Many sales professionals go into meetings only caring about closing the deal. They do not take time to truly listen, and they often make the mistake of filling every quiet moment with conversation. When you spend too much time talking, you make it difficult for buyers to express their unique needs and situation. They can’t fully understand what you are offering because they have no time to process the information.
If you typically fill the silence with words, make a point to pause. You never know what you will learn simply by taking a few breaths before continuing the conversation. When you learn to listen more and speak less, you position yourself as a thoughtful sales leader who gives customers time and space to think. You just might see your sales improve by embracing the concept that silence is golden.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Les Lent is a sales trainer, coach, consultant who holds 20 years of experience as a sales professional and sales leader. Lent has built and trained multiple sales teams to success implementing a battle-tested sales process, including many in the Fortune 500.