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Sell More, with Less Words

February 10 2011

listenIt's true. The best advice I ever got as a salesperson was to shut up.

Too often we tend to think a moment of silence is only for funerals or church, but one of the keys to making more sales is to quickly make your point, ask for the sale, and then be quiet. Nine times out of ten, the first person to speak owns what you are selling. If it's you, then you are still stuck with what you wanted to sell, and that's not who you wanted to buy what you are selling, is it?

Most salespeople I know tend to talk on and on about how great their product is or how much other people have improved their lives or business by using this that or the other. However, in today's fast-paced and self-centered society, people are not interested in anything else but themselves, and you've got less than 30 seconds in most cases to show someone what you are selling can benefit them, solve their problem or make them money.

Today's communication norms are Twitter, webpages and blogs, 140 characters, less than 400 words; and your prospect doesn't have time and doesn't care if your company is the best or if what your selling is the next big thing. If you can say it in the space of a text message, do it. Then let the buyer speak; and make sure you aren't the buyer.

Most times, if the prospect is interested and if you have a chance at all to sell what you are selling; they will give you a clue on how to proceed. Sometimes it's to walk away. You can't sell everybody, so why waste your time and theirs by vomiting a sales pitch they don't want to hear.

My first sales job, the manager told me to "go for the objection." What he was telling me was to put that price objection right up front, make the customer say it's too much. Why? So you can overcome the objection and move on. Most times an objection is simply a request for more information. Asking an open-ended question means the prospect has to answer with more than a yes or no; and those words give you power and knowledge.


The key to good selling is good listening. How many times have you heard that? It’s true. The problem with most salespeople is they can’t stop talking about themselves long enough to listen to what their prospect is saying. Those that shut up will end up listening if they allow the prospect to speak.

Good listening skills start with visualizing the fact that you should use your ears and your mouth in proportion. You have two ears and one mouth. That should tell you the proper proportion of talking to listening in a sales call. Then when it’s time to close, give a short close and shut up.

Brevity is the key to closing more sales, with less words.

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