In just two minutes the salesperson had gotten the client to say “yes” to giving his firm a shot at filling their needs. Had he stopped there, all would have been right and good in his world. Unfortunately, he continued to talk, extolling the features and benefits of the staffing services provided by his company. The “yes” turned into a “no” after the customer recanted, deciding to take time to think over his decision. Now that customer is buying from another firm, one I suspect whose salesperson didn’t kill an affirmative decision.

Often, salespeople don’t know when to shut up, especially when they’re focused on what they plan to say instead of hearing what the customer needs to share. Instead of deals that are done, their over-sharing causes business opportunities to come undone.

Selling is not telling, and even though many salespeople will say they know this, they keep talking anyways. When we shut up and sell we ask first, listen second, and only comment briefly (nine seconds or less is the rule) once we thoroughly understand what the customer needs and wants.

Shutting up may not be the most exciting way to sell, but the results it achieves are exhilarating.

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