I’ll Be Blunt: Just Shut up — to Sell More

“Really listening and suspending one’s own judgment is necessary in order to understand other people on their own terms … This is a process that requires trust and builds trust.”

~ Mary Field Belenky

I’ll Be Blunt: Just Shut up — to Sell More

By Art Sobczak

I remember reading a Wall Street Journal article discussing a directive that typically is used in a derogatory sense, but today is often used in place of, “You’re kidding me!,” or “Get out of here!”

Elaine often used it on Seinfeld as she would shove Kramer or Jerry with both hands.

And salespeople should actually DO it more often.

“Shut up!”

That’s right. Most salespeople could and would sell more if they kept their mouth closed.

Too many salespeople act as if they’re paid by the word and jump in, when they shouldn’t, so they can talk about all of the great “benefits” of their product/service.

But, they’re likely killing a great sales opportunity.

For example,

Sales Rep: “Please tell me how you now handle the storage and security of your customer records.”

Prospect: “Well, we’re a bit weak and antiquated in that area. We mostly put the orders and records in those storage boxes in the back, and we have the office manager take home a backup drive once a week and (Salesperson interrupts here…)

Sales Rep: “Oh, let me tell you what we can do for you…”

This scene, similar to hundreds of thousands occurring every day (on your calls, maybe? Nahh.) has caused the sales rep to miss the opportunity to:

  • Get more valuable, need/problem information
  • Help the prospect move into more of mindset where they are re-living their pain, feeling it even more intensely,
  • Help the prospect realize more of an urgency to act on their problem, which is a result of them talking about it more,
  • Identify even more needs/pains/problems, and dig even deeper into those (such as the highly risky practice of having an employee take the backup drives home, mentioned in the example.)

Cutting off a customer or prospect and jumping in with your own monologue when they’re telling you about their situation is just plain dumb.

Not only should you not interrupt, but you should drill deeper into what they just told you.

Look again at the prospect’s statement. Say it out loud as you read it:

Prospect: “Well, we’re a bit weak and antiquated in that area. We mostly put the orders and records in those storage boxes in the back, and we have the office manager take home the backup drive once a week and …”

Were there any obvious key words there that jumped out?

Yes!

“Weak and antiquated.”

That begs the question, “Why do you feel you’re weak and antiquated in that area?”

That question would continue the waterfall of information from them–stuff that would tell the rep exactly what he would need to say to help move the sales process forward.

Here are a few points and action items:

  • Keep in mind that whatever you say about your product or service in the presentation/recommendation part of the call isn’t anywhere nearly as good as it could be if you let them, and encourage them to continue talking.
  • PAUSE, after they seemingly have finished an answer or statement. This ensures you don’t interrupt, but more importantly, they might keep talking.
  • Hit the “Mute” button on your phone if you need to prevent yourself from butting in.

Want to sell more? Shut up!

Art Sobczak, Business By Phone Inc., provides how-to ideas and tips for rejectionless prospecting, selling, and servicing by phone. Get the free ebook, “29 Sales Tips You Can Use Right Now” at http://www.BusinessByPhone.com

YOUR CALL TO ACTION

What do you do to remind yourself to listen in a sales situation? Share your ideas below.