Talk Less, Listen More When Making a Sale

Listening not talkingSales is essential to every type of business, which is why it is important that companies make sure that their salespeople are following the best practices.

A recent article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that a survey found that more than half of respondents said that salespeople talk too much after they were asked what bothers them most about the profession.

The article offers a bit of an explanation for this problem, saying that salespeople, confident in their knowledge of the product or service they are selling, feel the need to tell the potential customer everything there is to know about it. While at first glance this would appear to be a good way for a salesperson to operate, in reality it can lead to an uninterested (and potentially annoyed) customer.

The Herald-Tribune article said that another reason for salespeople talking too much is that they are eager to make a sale so they can generate income for themselves and their companies.

Barrett Riddleberger, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Resolution Systems, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm, said that salespeople must understand the symbiotic nature of their relationship with the client.

“The dynamic between a salesperson and a potential customer should be collaborative,” the executive said. “The salesperson brings their knowledge and experience to the table. The customer brings their wants, needs and objectives. The two parties work together to formulate the best course of action to achieve the buyer’s objectives. It’s the salesperson’s responsibility to create conditions for this to happen.”

Riddleberger said that a salesperson must find out what a customers objectives are in order to be effective. By finding out the needs of the clients they will be able to make their sales pitch more applicable to them, and thus have a better chance of making a sale.

While it may seem like the best way to make a sale is to talk to the customer about one’s product or service, this assumption is backwards, according to Riddleberger.

“Salespeople shouldn’t talk their way through a sale,” the CEO said. “Instead, they should listen their way through it. The best arsenal a sales rep has is a good knowledge of their products and services and good set of open-ended questions.”