Today’s blog is all about knowing when to shut up. One of the biggest problems I find with sales people today is knowing when to stop talking. I have seen far too many deals lost because sales people are trying so hard to finish their “pitch” or impart how big their brain is to a potential customer by spewing vast amounts of product knowledge. The problem comes down to the simple fact that most sales people talk or sell, rather than listen during the sales process. How much money have you or your company lost because sales people can’t stop talking? Have you ever been on a call or in a meeting with someone that you just wished he would breathe so you could get a word in? All the person seems to do is talk and somewhere during the conversation, you shut down and stop listening. All you hear is background noise and nothing more. You are annoyed. Imagine one of your customers feeling the same way about you or one of your salespeople. Salespeople are the face of companies and present themselves for first impressions. Your customer tuning them out or being annoyed is not the first impression any of us want to leave. It is agreed that sales people must be knowledgeable in the product or service that they are selling. However, that does not mean they have to show the customer how much they know on every call. One thing I teach my sales people is that even though they know more about what they are selling than their potential customer does, it is not about showing how smart you are. What they need to do is find out how that product or service will affect their customer. How will it bring value to the customer? How will it increase a company’s revenue? In order to do this, they need to ask questions, shut up, and listen to what the customer has to say. Then there will be an interactive conversation between the sales person and the customer. You can tell a sales person is listening when they start to ask follow up questions and really drive down on what and how the customer can be helped. On one occasion, I was on a sales call with a customer and mid way through my “pitch” he said yes. I immediately stopped talking and proceeded to take his money. When I say I immediately stopped – I mean it. I didn’t continue to finish my thought or point. I stopped mid-sentence and shifted the conversation to what information I needed to complete the deal. The deal was closed. All that could have possibly happened if I had not been listening, was that I would continue to sell and lose the deal. Sales are not about you, your company, your products or your service. Sales is all about meeting a customer’s needs and adding value to them or their company. When a salesperson stops selling and starts listening, they start closing an amazing percentage of deals. So to conclude my blog today I will follow my own advice and shut up.