Chapter 13

The More Important Side of the Question


It’s an amusing contradiction: Good salespeople are typically viewed as smooth talkers who can woo their audience with their words. Actually, the best salespeople are those who listen more than they talk and know when to shut up.

Everyone knows how to listen. We’ve done it all of our lives. Why, then, do so few people do it well? As a sales manager once told me: “My salespeople like to listen—to themselves talk.”

In this brief chapter, I’ll reemphasize the obvious: You need to listen to prospects in order to be most effective. I’ll also share a few techniques to help you become even better at it.

Get More and Better Information by Simply Letting Them Talk

I approached the checkout counter at my local Walgreens. In my hands, I had a box of disposable latex gloves and a funnel. (I know. I realized the same thing when I got to the counter. Looked a bit weird.)

The clerk was an 18-year-oldish kid with multicolored semi-Mohawk hair, sporting numerous tattoos and lots of metal adorning his face. His head was down, tapping feverishly on his Smartphone with both thumbs. After I set my items down, he caught a glimpse of them. He tilted toward me a bit, so I could see one eye, with a pierced eyebrow slightly raised.

“They’re for cooking,” I was compelled to blurt out.

His expression was frozen.

“I’m catering the end-of-season banquet for the high school softball team. Eighty people.”

He stared blankly.

“I have a barbeque cooking ...

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