Sales Conversations – Mastering the Art of Shutting Up

Hi friends!  It’s Jason with this week’s blog post.

I was talking with a bunch of business owner friends last Friday about sales process, relationship, referrals and more.  A part of the conversation centered on how easy it is to talk too much about features and benefits during a sales call.  Every single business owner in the room agreed with this philosophy.

I’ve learned over the years that it’s important to let the person you are talking with speak.  That might sound silly and obvious, but you’d be surprised how often we mess that up.  In other words my sales calls are actually sales conversations, and as a result, I believe more effective.

Sales conversations with one person

If I’m meeting with one person, they usually end up asking questions after I’ve finished the intro about our services.  They share their personal experiences with similar situations in the past.  They tell me what they think about the pain of maintaining a website with a company that won’t call them back or is charging them too much.  They talk about the fact that they know they need to be blogging but just can’t seem to get started or keep the effort going.  The answer to their question is almost always, “Yes. We can do that.”  I might expand on how a bit, but it’s important to get back to the place where they are talking.

Sales conversations with a group

The idea of letting your potential new client drive the sales conversation is even more effective when it involves two or more people.  Inevitably, the group begins talking about their pain and why they need help.  And all too often they haven’t really talked that much amongst themselves prior to our meeting, so important details come out during the conversation.  Too much work.  Not enough support.  Problems with leadership getting on board.  Unfulfilled promises from previous vendors.  The list goes on and on.

The Art of Shutting UpMastering the Art of Shutting Up

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve won a new client by talking less.  And if you know me at all, you know I love to talk.  And I get passionate about helping people and can’t wait to tell them how things could be better.  So this is something I really have to work at!  Being quiet is a learned behavior for me.

Sure, I start out the conversation with what we do, how it works, pricing, etc.  The nuts and bolts of our services.  But then the magic happens.  They. Start. Talking.

They start talking individually or as a group and it’s an awesome feeling when they make a decision to work with us by the time they’re done.  I answer questions along the way, and definitely offer bits and pieces of advice about things they hadn’t thought of or didn’t know existed, but generally I let them drive the conversation.

The hard part is biting my tongue when I think of something additional to tell them… because they’re still talking.

What do you think?  Have you had any experiences with this?  Do you like the idea?  Will you try it next time you are meeting with someone?  I’d love to hear from you!

3 replies
  1. Beverly Abbott
    Beverly Abbott says:

    Great blog Jason and love your pic!! lol The art of listening is definitely and “art”. And for those of us who like to talk, it’s definitely a learned art especially when you feel so passionate about something as I know you and Mic do about Blue Gurus and the work that you do.

    When you interrupt or don’t really listen to the person you’re talkiing to, it’s actually an insult to that other person….not intended, but still an insult. It tells the other person that either you’re not listening to them or you feel that what they have to say is not important. And no one liked to feel that what they have to say is not important.

    Again…great blog and keep up the good work!
    #bluegurusrocks

    Reply
  2. Scott Walker
    Scott Walker says:

    Hi Jason,

    Great post here. Thanks for the refresher. I’ll be the first to admit the struggles I’ve gone through with over-selling it. I’ve definitely improved my style and approach over the years, and as I’ve settled into my role and become more experienced, it’s become easier for me to manage.

    It’s easy for salespeople to get caught up in the features and benefits, as many think this is why prospects buy. In some cases, sure, there have been people who bought from me because of a certain feature I offered that my competition didn’t. However, I’ve learned that, more often than not, people buy to simply solve a problem. Sometimes, by the end of the conversation, they didn’t even know they had some of the problems that we are now talking about solving.

    Instead of feature and benefit selling, I strictly focus on solution selling now. By taking this approach, I’m forced to get as much information out of the client/prospect as possible, rather than unloading all of the stuff on them that I think they want to hear, when actually it may not apply or even matter.

    The only ways that I can uncover these problems is, like you mentioned, to first – ask questions, second – get them talking, and third – LISTEN.

    I’ll never forget a call where I met with 4 corporate executives all from different departments. After a couple questions from me, and a few solutions (not features) I could offer, I put the phone on mute and listened to them talk to and sell each other for about the next 20 minutes on why they needed me. I would answer a random yes/no question every now and then, but the majority of the time I just sat back and basically let them do the work for me.

    Ask questions and listen. Conversations, like you said. Amazing how far these things will get you.

    Reply

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