Part of my job involves sales, but if you’ve been reading this space, you’ll know I don’t ever want to be referred to as a salesman. A salesperson talks AT you. I prefer to talk WITH people, and most importantly, listen to them.
Listening more and talking less is something I’ve learned over the years that’s helped me tremendously in my work, and it’s something I teach to my employees and to clients. Listening more and talking less has the following business benefits:
- It helps people to trust you. People often find it very refreshing to just be listened to, rather than having someone else interject every few seconds. It shows them that you really are interested in what they have to say, and not just trying to advance your own agenda.
- It helps you change bad habits. The desire to talk is human nature. Ever notice when you’re having a conversation that you’re always waiting for your next opportunity to get a word in? It takes effort to fight the urge to talk when it would be better to keep listening, or even ask the person to tell you more. That takes discipline, but if you’re successful in doing it, you can prove to yourself that old habits don’t die so hard after all. We all have the ability to change old habits and fight our basic nature — what a great business lesson to learn!
- It helps you understand your customers better. Every client has a different issue — the more you can learn from them, the more you can use that information later on to help them or even another customer. Being able to say, “One of my other customers had the same issue — this is what they did and this is a result” is powerful.
I tell my employees that we’re not just salespeople — we’re the furthest thing from it. We’re problem solvers. We sell equipment to solve problems, and if we’re successful in solving those problems, our customers make money and spend money with us.
In business, that’s called success — and success often comes from using your mouth less and using your ears a lot more.