We’ve written about the importance of listening in sales before. In fact, any sales trainer who isn’t a complete phony will tell you that listening is the most important skill a salesperson can develop.
They say you have two ears and one mouth for a reason, but why is it so difficult for many (if not most) salespeople to deal with more than a few seconds of silence? In fact, studies suggest that after asking a question, the average salesperson waits no longer than 2-3 seconds before rephrasing the question, answering it themselves, or changing the topic.
Learning to embrace silence can do wonders for your sales career. A salesperson who is able to ask questions and keep their mouth shut long enough to listen to the answers will see immediate success, and along with tools like Spiro, your personal sales assistant, will be a step ahead of their competitors.
Here are five reasons why salespeople should stop talking immediately.
1. Silence is powerful
Silence can be a very powerful tool. It’s so powerful that most people can’t stand more than a few seconds of it in conversation for fear of an awkward moment, too much tension, or just because of how foreign it feels. Very rarely will you lose a customer by letting them speak – but you can easily lose a customer by talking too much. Embrace silence, learn to thrive in it, and watch your sales numbers shoot up.
2. The customer will tell you everything you need to know
Salespeople frequently make the mistake of believing that they already know everything they need to know to sell their customers a product. But what better way to find out how to close a customer than letting them tell you themselves?! Ask the right questions and then let the prospect speak until they have nothing else to say. And then ask another question, and so on. Sooner or later the customer will tell you what need they’re trying to solve, and then you can custom-tailor your pitch accordingly.
3. You’ll satisfy a natural human desire
Human beings love when you listen to them. Especially in today’s fast paced world, where getting the person you’re talking to to look up at you from their phone for more than a few seconds seems like an accomplishment. Those who have mastered the art of listening and being patient are providing something that’s becoming harder and harder to find. Think about the average person. They probably don’t get listened to at work, they don’t get listened to at home, and they definitely don’t get listened to by politicians. If you can satisfy that basic human need, you’re much more likely to get their business.
4. You’ll stop sounding like a salesperson
We’ve written about why you should stop sounding like a salesperson before (because it doesn’t work), and learning to listen better will help you get there. The public thinks the stereotypical salesperson is fast-talking, pushy, and only cares about closing deals. The best way to counter that narrative is to do the exact opposite. Listen twice as much as you speak, make the prospect feel important and listened to, and when it comes time to close the deal you will both feel like you’ve arrived at an agreement together.
5. Because your competitors probably won’t
As mentioned earlier, the average salesperson will only wait a few seconds after asking a question before talking. This gives anyone who has mastered the art of listening a major advantage over their competitors. Let’s face it, most people have a very hard time changing their behavior, and bad listening skills can be one of the toughest communication habits to break. If you’re on a call, try covering your mouth when there is a moment of silence, or if you’re in person, count to ten in your head before interjecting with a follow-up question or comment. But whatever you do, stop talking immediately.