Knowing When To 'Shut Up' and Listen Will Help You Close More Sales

jordan stupar Jun 29, 2020

I recently asked my Facebook audience which sales skill was the hardest to master. I scrolled through the 50 or 60 comments and realized a trend. Some people said that cold calling was the hardest skill or that handling objections was the hardest. However, the most repetitive response was some variation of 'knowing when to shut up and listen'. 

In his book, The Sales Acceleration Formula, author Mark Roberge says that the best sales people are the ones who have an innate and genuine curiosity or interest in their customers. I don't disagree.

However, I wouldn't agree that all people display a natural proclivity for being genuinely curious about other people. This means that listening is a skill that some people must develop.

In sales (and in life), I think the best way to develop attentive listening skills is to understand two things:

  1. Understanding that listening is important
  2. Understanding how Question-Based Selling works

Obviously, when you ask a customer a question (hopefully a good one!), you're going to elicit a response. The more detailed the question, the better your chances are of receiving a detailed response - and when it comes to sales - there is simply nothing better.

Question-Based Selling allows a sales person to do 3 things:

  1. Establish and Maintain Control: Having a list of detailed questions to ask your customer allows you to control the conversation. Whoever is asking the questions is in control.
  2. Identify Where To Take The Conversation: If you really are listening, your customer will direct you to your next series of questions and help you uncover their pain points and what problems they are looking to solve. Shut up and listen.
  3. Speak Less: Of course, if you are busy listening, you won't have to worry about speaking too much. You'll also be able to ensure that your customer is staying engaged throughout the sales process.

The bottom line is that you need to have a plethora of detailed, inquisitive and well thought out questions to excel in sales these days. If you are looking for some additional resources on this subject, you can be sure to find them, here.


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