Talking too much is a curse for effective sales people. It opens the door to “winging it” strategies – er – mistakes which haunt a sales person as the customer or prospect remembers everything you say – even if you don’t.
Will investigating the cause of talking too much I discovered seven actual contributors to this “condition.” Personally, I had written off talking too much to a particular behavioral style – which is the big picture reason for talking too much. However, I found these seven reason will impact any of the behavioral styles of selling.
Here are the seven reasons you talk too much…
- Anxiety – This one is closely related to self-confidence. When anxiety is present, talking too much feels lack being in control and not giving time to the customer or prospect to say “no.” The opposite and more positive position to take is to ask more questions and actively listen to the response of the customer. Then ask more questions to gain a sense of clarity or understanding.
- Lack of Preparation – The less prepared a sales person is for a meeting, the more talking is done to explain things. I recently discovered this when verbalizing some topic to my wife and I found myself explaining it several times when one concise description was all I needed. The reason for the multiple responses – no preparation or practice. That means talking out loud to hear your thoughts and reasoning before delivering it tot the customer.
- Stress – Usually brought on by fatigue and lack of sleep and exercise, stress causes us to ramble on – when short statements are all that’s necessary. The other part of the stress syndrome is the lack of concentration. This inhibits our ability to think clearly – leading to fuzzy thinking and a lack of clarity to our thoughts. Therefore, we ramble and lose the customer’s attention.
- Lack of a Plan – No call plan leads to ramble and boring chatter on the part of the sales person. With no plan you are only showing up to visit someone and are using the Hope Method of sales strategy. Before even making an appointment you should ask yourself the following – What is my call objective? What does this company do? How do they make money? What might be keeping my contact up at night? What problems could they have that my company can solve? What additional information do I need to learn about this customer? Now, make the appointment, go see the customer, ask more questions and listen to everything they have to say.
- No Time Awareness – Time is the one thing nobody seems to have enough of these days – so honor you management of time. Budget your time available for meetings and stick to the timetable whenever possible. It shows respect for the customer’s time. Again, rambling, long-winded presentations with a customer do not help your cause. Honoring their time by keeping the meeting on track and on subject are highly valued skills or traits your customers admire. Use positioning as a business person to announce the coming of the deadline by asking “what are the next steps for us to cover during the last five minutes?” Are there any specific concerns you want to ask about during the last five minutes of our time together?
- Missing Humility – Arrogance lives here making the sales person love what they say and get a rush of good feelings just listening to themselves talk. Here the key to losing this trait – stop talking and start asking. If you stop talking you take the emphasis off you and by asking good questions you show respect and dignity to the customer. Ask more questions and listen to the customer, you may learn some things you didn’t know and this knowledge will help you become a better sales person.
- Ineffective Thought Process – Moving a customer though the sales process to closure requires specific thought processes leading to definitive conclusion. There are two forms of Thought Processes – convergent thinking and divergent thinking. Divergent thinking creates more ideas and expands the possibilities of solutions or problems. This method is excellent for creative thinking sessions when you need additional ways or ideas to address a situation. However, in selling, this will lead to a longer sales cycle due to having to explore a multitude of solutions – possibly wasting time. The convergent thinking method gradually reduces the number of possibilities or ideas down to one conclusion. This is usually the conclusion of the sale – a win – win for both you and the customer due to clarity of thought and reasoning.
There you have the seven primary reasons sales people talk too much with customers. The major point for your b2b sales people – learn how to ask better questions, ask the questions and listen to the answers. Most sales teams have doubt about this sales strategy. Yet, later, after they have learned it, used it in the field, mastered how to do it right – they have another thought – “This is Great! I am respected by my customers. They call me now to get my opinion on things they are about to do! Unbelievably, I never thought I would see the day a customer actually welcomed me into their office.”
You can create a competitive advantage just by learning how to ask questions lending to helping the customer solve problems and improve their situations. It can be done. Now, stop talking so much and start listening.