We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

Epictetus

I have had to make a great deal of calls over the last few days for a number of reasons and one thing has struck me.  The complete inability of people to listen to what I was saying.

Now you could say that as the inability to listen was a recurring theme, the problem could be at my end but without burying my head in the sand, I believe I speak clearly and can explain my needs very simply.

I took extra care with the last few calls trying to find a supplier, yet still, after I explained what I needed, was still met with a barrage of questions that had already been answered.  In fact, on one call, the woman asked me the same question no less than five times!  I ended up asking her if she had a pen and if so, would she mind writing down my answers so we did not keep going over old ground.  Hasten, to say, I will not be purchasing from her.

We were all born (or most of us anyway), with two ears and one mouth.  We really should try to use them in proportion.  When someone calls to ask about your product or service, there is a tendency to get rather over excited at the prospect of a new sale and start to tell them everything there is to know about your offering, when all they need to know is what is relevant to them and their particular situation.  Let them speak and explain their needs, and whilst they are doing so, shut up and listen!  You can then explain just the areas of your business that will benefit them which will help build a trust and relationship where they realise you are doing your best to help them.

The more you allow a prospect to talk, the more important they will feel and they will know you have taken the time to hear what they want.  If you constantly talk over them and then ask basic questions that you would have heard if you had listened properly, you are likely to make them feel either irritated or not important and as a result likely to lose their custom.

And following on from this point, and what I always teach in sales training, is that when you have given someone some information, give them time to digest it.  Let there be a few moments of silence to absorb what you have said.  You don’t have to jump in and keep talking to fill the silence.  Once you have given information, try counting to seven before you speak again.  This simple tip can make such a difference to your sales success.  If people don’t get the time to take in what has been said, they tend to say that they will think it over and get back to you.  How many times have you heard that?   Give them time whilst you have them in front of you or on the phone.  And watch your sales improve.

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