Do You Talk Too Much?

December 19, 2009

Q: I was riding with a salesman recently and during the conversation with the buying authorities, I was amazed and a bit uncomfortable at just how much he talked and dominated the conversation. In fact I estimated he talked about 80% of the time.

A: This is a trait against which sales professionals need to constantly guard against. Because you are being asked to be the "expert" and provide “advice” in many forms to the client, one might assume that the bulk of conversation would flow from sales to client.

However, this would only be true if the sales professional already knew everything possible about the client's immediate need and/or organization. This is rarely the case, especially in the beginning of the engagement. At this point (especially at this point), a sales person risks shutting off the desire or willingness of a client to open up with information and opinions if he or she does all the talking.

Take the "talker test." If your answer to any of these five questions is yes then you may need to consciously work on moderating your domination of client conversations.
1. First, do you feel you have to explain your point in complete detail because each element is important for the client to understand every nuance?
2. Second, do your explanations or comments usually last more than 45-60 seconds?
3. Third, does at least one of the people listening to your talk, show signs of distraction or not listening?
4. Do you find yourself explaining or interpreting your comments, by making statements like, “….what I mean by that is….?”
5. Finally, do others seem to have a hard time breaking in to the conversation (assuming you even notice this)?
These are all indicators that you are monopolizing the conversation.

Tip: If it is OK with your client, record a selling session and count how much time you take control, versus the client or staff. If you are talking for more than 30 seconds at a time or more than 25% overall, then you need to look for ways of listening more and talk less.

On behalf of the love of my life, my wife Denise and our staff, we’d like to wish you, your family and business associates a very happy Merry Christmas.

George F. Mancuso, CPC