BUSINESS MARKETING: Active listening sells more than talk talk talk

2014-03-08T09:23:00Z BUSINESS MARKETING: Active listening sells more than talk talk talkLarry Galler Times Business Columnist
March 08, 2014 9:23 am  • 

The highest percentage of sales presentations revolve around the salesperson talking, talking and talking some more.

They hardly stop to take a breath. They barrage the customer with facts, figures, statistics, success stories, features and benefits. A good portion of the time they either overwhelm the customer with a gusher of talk or bore them with way too much information, much of it immaterial to the customer.

A more skillful salesperson will engage the customer and ask some probing questions to discover what the customer is interested in, what they want or need, what their intended uses might be, what they like or dislike, what they are concerned about, and what might compel them to buy or what they fear. That skilled salesperson will listen carefully to then address the specific issues and concerns raised by the customer.

I once saw a sales training film called, “Some Salespeople Can’t Sell a Rope to a Drowning Man.” In the film a man is struggling to stay afloat in the water crying, “Help! Help! Help!” The salesperson is standing on the pier with a coil of rope in his hand saying, “This rope is 50-feet long, can hold 500 pounds, will only stretch 4 inches, will not rot in the sun, and is very light weight … as the potential customer slips under the water for the last time."

The drowning man wasn’t interested in what material the rope was made of, how it was woven, the dyes used to color the rope, the only thing that mattered was that he needed the rope. If the salesperson had stopped talking and listened, he would have made the sale but the sale went underwater with the customer.

Don’t let it happen to you. Listen to the customer. They will tell you what they want and need. Once you know what they want and need you can then talk to explain how your product can satisfy their specific needs. Present your product and close the sale before it’s too late.

Opinions are solely the writer's. Larry Galler, of Larry Galler & Associates, is a marketing and management consultant for small and mid-size companies. Learn about Galler’s new business growth program, “Beyond the Next Level” by sending an email to put “Beyond” in the subject line.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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