Sometimes salespeople assume they know what matters instead of asking. Sometimes salespeople trip themselves up by creating objections. Occasionally, salespeople speak too much and when one speaks one is not listening.
There are several good reasons for salespersons to speak less. Yes, speak less. It is difficult to imagine, but it is true that salespersons speak too much. It is ingrained in their DNA. Yet, this trait goes back to an older time when the customer was less informed and could not educate him or herself. The balance of power has shifted and buyers have other avenues of educating themselves. Imagine a hiring manager who interviews a sales position candidate and decides to hire the candidate who speaks less. Sounds strange, right? It should not be. Let me explain.
1- Speaking less may be a sign that the salesperson has done his or her homework and is looking for more information and more insight because there is much that he or she has already discovered. It is also respectful and beats the heck out of lecturing a customer. To be clear, that is different from a salesperson who is quiet and rarely speaks.
2- Speaking less may coincide with a candidate who asks more questions and shows a keen ability to look at responding to the challenges of the buyer (could be an interviewer). The pitch has to align to the customer’s (could be hiring manager) needs. It should not be random or assumed to hit the bull’s eye. Who does not like a person who asks good questions anyway?
3- Speaking less also reduces objections. The more one speaks the more objections may pop up. Here is an exaggerated example to illustrate the point:
- Salesperson: May I obtain the purchase order from you today?
- Buyer: Yes, as a matter of fact I have it ready for you.
- Salesperson: That is fantastic …
- … I have not received a PO in a while and could sure use this sale or
- … You have made the right choice. We are the number one provider of widgets in the country or
- … That is superb. I will pass it on to your account manager right away and he will contact you in the next two days.
Literally anything the salesperson says could create an issue and become an obstacle. The examples are endless, but silence would have been golden to avoid, to use the above examples, making the customer think he should not award a PO to a company that does not win any business or may be too expensive because they are #1 and hence there may be a cheaper alternative out there since the customer does not need the highest quality or give the buyer cause for a halt because they were looking forward to working with that particular salesperson and not an account manager who would replace the original salesperson from here on in.
Perhaps the best response would have been ‘… Thank-you. I will wait in your reception area for you.’ Imagine that! Quite different from the salesperson who always needs to get in extra words.
None of the above suggests the salesperson should be silent, uncommunicative or refrain from opening his or her mouth. It simply means asking questions, understanding and being targeted are better strategies than being absorbed in one’s own world at the expense of potentially tripping oneself up.
Things That Need to Go Away: Assuming More Words Equal More Stature, Significance Or Sales