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Talk Less, Sell More

Talk Less, Sell More

Too much talk kills sales. Too much me and not enough you is bad business. My buddy and fellow GHTA member Denny King told me years ago: understand before being understood. You can’t maximize sales until your customer feels you understand. Once that happens, you incidentally will also be understood by your customer, and sales will simply follow.

Some time ago, I was forced to scrap and completely retool, on the spot, an extensive and important sales pitch (a surely fascinating presentation I had labored over for days prior). My customer (the kind that could have doubled my sales overnight) showed up exceedingly late (never mind I had flown into her city for this presentation). She stormed in and announced: “Sorry I’m late. You have 25 minutes, use them wisely”. I’m not making this up. I quickly responded “OK, I’ll cut my presentation down to 12½ minutes if you promise to tell me for the remaining 12½ minutes about your company and how I can help you.” I speed talked for 8 minutes and turned the meeting over to her. I simply stopped talking (well not so simply... if you know me...). She talked about her needs, her expectations of companies like mine, and her immediate challenges. For an hour.

I walked out with a big project. I had invested in understanding my customer, she felt understood, and she was quickly ready to understand the value I offer.

Oftentimes we so badly want to convince others of the value our product or service offers (to be understood by our customer) – we forget to invest time to listen to and understand his or her challenges. By asking my future customer how I might better understand her, she came to understand the value I can offer. I would have been thrilled if all I had received in that meeting was a second appointment – instead by talking less, I left this initial meeting with a generous six-figure project.

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