Chapter 11. The Johnny Carson Principle

Questions as a Conversation

If you are old enough, you probably watched former late night talk show king, Johnny Carson. I have heard many people in the field talk about how easy Carson made his job look, despite how difficult the job really was. Several entertainers who were interviewed about Carson remarked that it could be extremely nerve-racking to be a guest on a talk show, but that Johnny Carson made them feel at ease. Many made the comment that Mr. Carson had a way of making so called "interviews" effortless, and that his questions seemed to be simply a normal part of conversation.

You must adopt this "Carson-esque" method to your sales dealings, and ask potential customers questions using a similarly conversational tone. Customers can't feel like they are being interrogated. You avoid setting this kind of a tone by asking questions and truly listening to the response; and then adding on to the answers, commenting, or asking them to clarify or expand upon what they've told you so far. You must be able to hear and understand your customers to truly be able to assist them. There is ample research that's proven that when people are listening to others, they are usually considering and forming their response while the person is still talking. You cannot sincerely pay attention to the customer when this occurs.

Traditional sales techniques, such as nodding your head up and down as your customer speaks, are potentially powerfully mirror imaging ...

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