Watch most salespeople and you’ll observe the spewing of factoids, details, and feature-benefit chunks of information all over prospective clients. Even leaders engage in this projectile-like communication as they tell their subordinates what to do and how to do it.

For decades, great lip-service has been given to the idea that we should listen more than talk and that we were given two ears and one mouth as proof. Yet, many spouting this wisdom continue to inundate those around them with voluminous amounts of words.

No one likes to be thrown up on and it’s certainly no way to start or grow an important relationship. So, make 2011 the year you say little, ask lots of provocative questions, and build and deepen your connections with others as a direct result. Not only is this soothing, like a spoonful of Pepto, it’s also a mega-dose of vitamins to establish and grow healthy, long-lasting partnerships.

Views: 139

Comment by Martin H.Snyder on January 10, 2011 at 7:44pm

Zero sum:  if everyone is listening, who will do the talking ?

Better: Aim for insight and entertainment, two of the highest forms of human communication, without worry about the word count. 


If you are boring and trivial, no matter how little you speak, you lose.  If you are fun and informative, by all means, take the floor and hold it.



Comment by Martin H.Snyder on January 11, 2011 at 8:35am

Morgan,  if you entertain me, im a few thousand percent more likely to buy from you, because sharing a sense of what's fun and absurd is about as deep a connection as people can have. 

Complex selling is an educational process- for both sides- above all.  

"Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn't know the first thing about either" - Marshall McLuhan  



Comment by Scott Wintrip on January 11, 2011 at 9:03am

Morgan and Martin...appreciate the dialogue so far.


As long as we make this about the buyer, everyone wins. If we ask provocative questions to understand the needs, we'll learn what those are and the style of our buyer (driver, expressive, amiable, or analytic). One we understand both, we can provide solutions to meet those needs and communicate that solution in the best manner based upon the personality of the buyer.

Comment by Karen Lynn on January 17, 2011 at 11:17am

Who is doing what n' when is slightly off target to Scott's point I think.


While speaking and listening suggest a directional dynamic in the activity of communication, there is an often ignored function called filtering going on that influences the outcome far more robustly than merely the percentage of a talking to listening ratio.


Listening for what? The needs and style of your buyer? The buyer's pain to be exploited? or Your turn to speak perhaps?


Don't simply increase the time you listen (ie. are NOT talking). Increase the quality of your listening by upgrading your listening filters, clear out outmoded beliefs and me, me, me patterns of listening.

Listening is not about time and taking turns. Its about clarity, authenticity and connection.


Self-honesty is usually the best medicine for this type of open-listening. 

Comment by Scott Wintrip on January 17, 2011 at 11:47am
Karen, And what helps are those recaps we need to be giving from time-to-time in a conversation. Only then do we get a clear indication how our filters impacted what we've heard.
Comment by Maria Mull on January 17, 2011 at 7:17pm
I have to agree with Scott about the "Verbal Vomit" plague.  Most sales people and recruiters have this awful disease.  They take very little time to research their prospects and understand what they have to offer that will help solve the prospects pain.  To top it off many sales people and recruiters end up "giving away" their fees or discounting their business because they "spew" facts, features and benefits without considering how their product or service will in fact help the client realize a "RETURN ON THEIR INVESTMENT".  I have never been the cheapest recruiter nor sold the cheapest product to my clients and prospects.  When sales people "spew" it is becuase they do not understand how to convey their value proposition properly.
Comment by Scott Wintrip on January 18, 2011 at 9:14am
Maria, loved your comments about value. When you sell value, you get to charge your full fee. Your clients still feels like they got a great deal at the price they paid. And you walk away have earned your full fee. Everyone wins, including the candidate who got the job.


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