by Synnuh
19 replies
One thing I noticed when I trained people to sell life insurance under me was that they refused to just shut up, and listen.

They all wanted to follow the script, word for word, overcome the objections as quickly as possible, and then ask for a check -- only to wonder why the prospect wanted to "sleep on it".

They never wanted to sleep on it. They just didn't want to buy from the person sitting across the table from them.

The main reason?

That person wouldn't just shut up and listen. Or they were too busy thinking about what to say next to hear what the client was really saying to them.

Over the last few months I've spent a lot of time fine tuning my sales skills (something I still say that I suck at) but one of the biggest changes I've noticed -- outside of my closing ratio improving -- is that I've just shut the hell up.

When a client calls me, it's because they think I can help them solve their problem -- and I usually can.

What happens when you just shut up and listen is that the prospect tells you EXACTLY how to solve their problem, in their own words.

This wording is what you use to create a powerful connection between you and the prospect, and isn't possible if you're just trying to flow through a script thinking that the ending result will be a sale for you.

So the next time you're on the phone with a client, figure out why they're calling you.

Ask questions about their business, and then shut the hell up. Let the client spend 90% of the time talking.

You don't need a script when the client is giving you the path to victory.

And if you can't see the road to victory, it's probably because you can't actually help the prospect to begin with. It's fine to cut them loose, and focus on the clients that you can help.

My rant for the afternoon. Time for a nap.
#listen #shut
  • Profile picture of the author Alex Cohen
    Originally Posted by Synnuh View Post

    Over the last few months I've spent a lot of time fine tuning my sales skills (something I still say that I suck at) but one of the biggest changes I've noticed -- outside of my closing ratio improving -- is that I've just shut the hell up.

    When a client calls me, it's because they think I can help them solve their problem -- and I usually can.

    What happens when you just shut up and listen is that the prospect tells you EXACTLY how to solve their problem, in their own words.

    This wording is what you use to create a powerful connection between you and the prospect, and isn't possible if you're just trying to flow through a script thinking that the ending result will be a sale for you.

    So the next time you're on the phone with a client, figure out why they're calling you.

    Ask questions about their business, and then shut the hell up. Let the client spend 90% of the time talking.
    For some reason, people find silence uncomfortable. And also, we like to blather on about ourselves and/or our product.

    A perfect one-two prescription for failure at sales.

    Yes, learn to listen. It's an essential selling skill.

    Alex
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    • Profile picture of the author Synnuh
      Originally Posted by Alex Cohen View Post

      For some reason, people find silence uncomfortable. And also, we like to blather on about ourselves and/or our product.

      A perfect one-two prescription for failure at sales.

      Yes, learn to listen. It's an essential selling skill.

      Alex
      I was guilty of that for the first few months selling insurance. Made a bunch of friends, but didn't make many sales.

      It wasn't until I quit talking about myself, and started talking about my credentials that sales increased.

      Now, if I'd have only known to completely shut up and listen, and only answer questions being directed at my credibility or opportunities where I could build trust, I'd have probably doubled my sales.

      The only time I talk about myself now is if it's a "me too" moment, give a quick laugh, and then get back to the task at hand -- closing the sale.

      Unless they're asking about something I've done in the past that's relevant to their business, I keep them focused on helping themselves.
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  • Profile picture of the author FemaleAddadotcom
    It is disheartening to see someone listen to a scripted monologue.. if he is investing his time and energy, that means he is interested in what you have to say..

    I too have a team of marketing execs, who deal with salon owners. They dont wanna think to answer many questions, so they keep insisting that I give them ready-to-use scripted answers.

    Which I dont, because no matter how nicely you say those things.. they are impersonal and always prove ineffective in building trustworthy consumer relationship.
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    • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
      Originally Posted by Synnuh View Post


      Over the last few months I've spent a lot of time fine tuning my sales skills (something I still say that I suck at) but one of the biggest changes I've noticed -- outside of my closing ratio improving -- is that I've just shut the hell up.

      When a client calls me, it's because they think I can help them solve their problem -- and I usually can.

      What happens when you just shut up and listen is that the prospect tells you EXACTLY how to solve their problem, in their own words.
      Learning how to listen is one of the hardest things to accomplish.

      It's also one of the most effective. You mentioned that you now
      know how to put the conversation back on track when it derails...

      That's also really hard to learn and one of the most important / useful
      tools in your toolbox.

      Believe it or not, just by listening and not over-talking the other person
      or talking through the person and never giving them a chance to respond
      evokes a bond of trust. Most people feel like nobody ever really listens to them.

      This is specially true for married couples, partners, young people,
      people working in a business with a established hierarchy. - Just about
      everybody.

      Just the act of someone listening is special to them. Follow that up by asking
      the appropriate questions that prove you were paying attention to THEM
      and it's a killer foundation for the sale.

      I call the valuable tidbits I hear when they are talking "bullets". I use these
      "bullets" to guide the conversation around sticky points or to hammer home
      important reasons they need what I have. If pressed, I also use them as rebuttals.

      There is not to much more effective in getting the sale, then you taking
      there exact words they said to you, and using it as a validation towards
      the sale. Again, as a rebuttal or a tie down or as the lead in to the close.

      Your post shows a lot of growth since last year. Good stuff. You're getting
      close to the tipping point. When you do, sales will become sexy and your
      passion.... at least that's how it worked for me.
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      • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
        Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

        Just the act of someone listening is special to them. Follow that up by asking
        the appropriate questions that prove you were paying attention to THEM and it's
        a killer foundation for the sale.
        Yep

        Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

        I call the valuable tidbits I hear when they are talking "bullets". I use these
        "bullets" to guide the conversation around sticky points or to hammer home
        important reasons they need what I have. If pressed, I also use them as rebuttals.

        There is not to much more effective in getting the sale, then you taking
        there exact words they said to you, and using it as a validation towards
        the sale. Again, as a rebuttal or a tie down or as the lead in to the close.
        This^^^

        Listening is an absolute must. However, there must be a "method to the madness", as well, as Ken pointed out. You want to listen to what they're saying, but by having a proven system, or "mental script" memorized, you can take what they're telling you more efficiently and use it to BOTH of your benefits.
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  • Profile picture of the author bella14
    unique title
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Some of the benefits of actively listening, that maybe weren't brought up;

    Rapport deepens far faster when they are talking, instead of you. Why? Because when they are talking, and you are listening, there is implied agreement.

    Listening allows you to see the direction they are thinking, and what obstacles to overcome.

    It also allows you to know what subjects to avoid, what features to ignore.

    Listening allows the prospect to go through the buying process while you are there. Everything they are saying to you, they are also saying to themselves. And that is really the main way to close in one call. Allow their entire buying process to unfold in front of you. When you are talking, that process is on hold.

    Humans have two universal needs, that you can help them with. The need to brag, and the need to be the victim. By listening to their stories, you allow that drama to play out. At the time you are doing this, it won't feel like you are selling...but believe me...important bonding is taking place below the surface.

    As you are listening, important points in the conversation will come up, where you can divert the conversation seamlessly to how your offer will tie into their "story".

    "I'm glad you brought that up"
    "That's an important point you just made...." and now, they are listening to you.


    Hope that helps someone.
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  • Profile picture of the author Quede
    What a great advice, this rule is very useful in life, not just in sales and marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Here's the issue for newbies:

    They can't just show up and shut up.

    I don't mean they're compelled to speak; I mean they have to get over the initial trust hurdle to get the prospect to open up even 5% and start sharing SOME of the truth!

    Sounds like the OP is getting past this point, which is great.

    For newbies, an effective way to begin the conversation and start getting to this truth is to ask an open-ended question like, "So, I appreciate you inviting me in today; can I ask what prompted this?"

    Or, listing some typical symptoms of problems they fix that prospects often have: "Miss Prospect, thanks for inviting me in. People often bring us in for one of several reasons: they A, B, or C...is any one of these sounding familiar?" And THEN shut up...they'll either confirm the resonating symptom, or correct you with 'D': their real reason.

    And now you have something real to start with...something a purely features and benefits-pushing salesperson will never uncover.
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  • Profile picture of the author Synnuh
    Jason is 100% right.

    If you're cold calling, emailing, or prospecting, you've gotta work up to the point where you get the client comfortable talking about themselves to you.

    I use this strategy on inbound leads. My harassment strategy (er, prospecting?) is setup to get the clients making the initial phone call, so that I start off on the right foot -- as the person they called to solve a problem I let them know they have.

    They're either going to call me because they're interested, or because they're tired of seeing me (email, Facebook, Google, every site they visit, and direct mail -- they can't escape my claws once I've got them sunk in) and want to tell me how much of an asshole I am.

    Either way works for me -- love me, or hate me, you're going to know who I am.

    Back to babysitting this long island on some much needed vacation time. The Keys are beautiful this time of year.

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  • Profile picture of the author Zodiax
    Inbound leads eh.

    Easy-street.

    Try that with hammered ice-cold leads from the directory.
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    • Profile picture of the author Synnuh
      Originally Posted by Zodiax View Post

      Inbound leads eh.

      Easy-street.

      Try that with hammered ice-cold leads from the directory.
      That's how I got to this point. I've done it before, and would do it again if I had to.
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      • Profile picture of the author Zodiax
        Originally Posted by Synnuh View Post

        That's how I got to this point. I've done it before, and would do it again if I had to.
        Over the phone, ice cold, no in-person meetings?
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        • Profile picture of the author Synnuh
          Originally Posted by Zodiax View Post

          Over the phone, ice cold, no in-person meetings?
          To a contact information list scraped from Yellowpages based on a list of cities with populations between 100,000 to 250,000.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._by_population

          I don't have teleportation capabilities -- yet. Calling and emailing was the only thing that worked for me at the time.
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          • Profile picture of the author kenmichaels
            Originally Posted by Synnuh View Post

            I don't have teleportation capabilities -- yet.
            ... slacker!

            Do you have kids? Mine has been asking me to make him a
            teleportation gun for a few weeks now. I told them they aren't
            real, he told me, that's because I haven't invented them yet.

            How do you argue with that logic?
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            • Profile picture of the author Synnuh
              Originally Posted by kenmichaels View Post

              ... slacker!

              Do you have kids? Mine has been asking me to make him a
              teleportation gun for a few weeks now. I told them they aren't
              real, he told me, that's because I haven't invented them yet.

              How do you argue with that logic?
              lmao, you can't. Get to work. I'll buy a prototype if the price is right.

              Edit: Mine wants a unicorn. Know any bio-engineers?
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  • Profile picture of the author Dano101
    Originally Posted by Synnuh View Post

    One thing I noticed when I trained people to sell life insurance under me was that they refused to just shut up, and listen.

    They all wanted to follow the script, word for word, overcome the objections as quickly as possible, and then ask for a check -- only to wonder why the prospect wanted to "sleep on it".

    They never wanted to sleep on it. They just didn't want to buy from the person sitting across the table from them.

    The main reason?

    That person wouldn't just shut up and listen. Or they were too busy thinking about what to say next to hear what the client was really saying to them.

    Over the last few months I've spent a lot of time fine tuning my sales skills (something I still say that I suck at) but one of the biggest changes I've noticed -- outside of my closing ratio improving -- is that I've just shut the hell up.

    When a client calls me, it's because they think I can help them solve their problem -- and I usually can.

    What happens when you just shut up and listen is that the prospect tells you EXACTLY how to solve their problem, in their own words.

    This wording is what you use to create a powerful connection between you and the prospect, and isn't possible if you're just trying to flow through a script thinking that the ending result will be a sale for you.

    So the next time you're on the phone with a client, figure out why they're calling you.

    Ask questions about their business, and then shut the hell up. Let the client spend 90% of the time talking.

    You don't need a script when the client is giving you the path to victory.

    And if you can't see the road to victory, it's probably because you can't actually help the prospect to begin with. It's fine to cut them loose, and focus on the clients that you can help.

    My rant for the afternoon. Time for a nap.
    I agree.

    And I'm sure a good car salesman would agree as well. Lol

    So if a family of 6 comes to the dealership and looking for a van while the dad whom is buying is persisting on buying that Corvette.

    Then it's probably best for the seller to shut the heck up and sell that Corvette. Lol

    Now mom may be mad. Lol. But dad is the buyer. Lol.

    So just listen to the concerns and always agree to help the one that's paying. Lol
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  • Profile picture of the author pomelo
    listen to understand, turn customers into beau, I agree
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  • Profile picture of the author LifeSafetyExpert
    Just like Synnuh said. "Love me or hate me." That is key right there.They have to KNOW you before they can do business with you..It's all about getting known in the marketplace.
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