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  • Writer's pictureLacy Starling

#107: Shhhhhhhh. Just shhhhhh.

I was on a Zoom last week with a woman, doing some light networking, when I realized I was interested in perhaps learning more about the service her company offered for my logistics business. I mentioned that I might want to hear more about that, and why, and then was immediately swept away in an avalanche of words.

She'd made the classic salesperson mistake of hearing that I was interested and then barfing everything she knew about her service into my unwilling ears. I sat there, frustrated and annoyed, trying to break in and ask questions at relevant points, but never able to get a word in edgewise. By the time she was done talking, we were nearly out of time, and I hadn't gotten a chance to ask anything I wanted to. I left that meeting very interested in the service, and determined to find someone else to provide it for us.

I tell salespeople this all the time, but it is worth repeating, because apparently there are folks who haven't gotten the message. SHUT UP. Shutupshutupshutupshutup. Stop talking. Stop selling. Stop telling me how great your company/product/service is. Just stop.

A salesperson's job is to ask questions, and to listen. Find out what the person you are assaulting with your features and benefits actually WANTS and NEEDS to know, and tell them that, in brief. Let them ask questions. Answer those questions, and then SHUT UP AGAIN. Talking AT someone instead of WITH them isn't going to sell whatever you've got to sell. It is just going to turn them off, and even if they are interested in what you've got, they'll definitely try to find somewhere else to buy it.

The myth of the successful salesperson who has "the gift of gab" is just that—a myth. Truly successful salespeople are inquisitive, open, curious, interested in others and speak about 1/10th as much as they listen, and when they do speak, it is with a purpose.

So, the next time you feel the urge to barf your features and benefits all over some unsuspecting prospect's shoes, don't. Just shut up, and listen.

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