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Small business owners, doctors, lawyers, accountants, consultants, and sales reps…


It’s all about what you DON’T say!


It’s what you don’t say that makes a sale, that brings in new patients and clients and customers. Try sharing this bit of wisdom with any fast-talk car dealership or mattress store (the most distrusted U.S. businesses) then step back to get laughed at… which, all by itself, should be sufficient to convince you.

It’s true that being on the sales end of the spectrum in any given conversation, presentation, meeting, or conference, carries with it the responsibility to pay attention more, listen more, and shut up more! I’m not always smart enough to DO it, but I try because I think the old axiom that we should listen 80% of the time and talk 20% is true!

Besides forcing me to listen more carefully, the 80/20 formula enables me to be more patient with others and myself. It also prompts me to be more concise, more to the point — we inevitably choose our words and examples more carefully when we do take our 20% slice of a discussion.

People buy from knowledgeable people who excel at active listening. We like to hear –or at least I do– about what we don’t know when we ask for it but, Boy! I really resent the intrusion on my time and mindset by those who flaunt it when I plain just don’t care? Talk does not cook rice!

Oh, and how about those who simply pay no attention to my verbal, facial, and body language signals? How do they miss my scowls, my squinted or rapidly-blinking eyes, my folded arms and jittery feet? Ah, then there are those who stare dumbly into space, or at my shirt collar, shoes or hair (or lack of), or their own hands or feet?

Or, yikes!… their wristwatch!

How many times have you—as a prospective customer/patient/client—been scared off by a know-it-all sales rep/ doctor/ lawyer/ accountant/ consultant? You know the type. “Everything is under control, my friend” (not a particularly ingratiating line from a friend I’ve never met). The great sales asset of genuine empathy is an entirely different matter.

Perhaps you’ve heard someone tell you: “Don’t worry. Be happy.” Worse yet, that was the song my former CPA played on his outgoing phone message. After producing an April 14th “minor” ($10,000) “IRS payment that needs to be paid with tomorrow’s taxes,” you’ll surely understand why I referred to him as “former.”

Instead of hearing and responding directly to my purchase interests and concerns, I get tons of information I don’t care about. And how much do you love token, dismissive head nods offered as pathetic attempts to pretend to be listening, but serving instead as a “yes but” lead-in to the next round of information dumping? Can you hear me now?

Oh, and to underscore the point, many in-person information overload spiels are accompanied by the spieler paying more attention to whom or whatever is going on behind me (or being more tuned into a blinking smartphone). And only heaven knows the distractions that keep telemarketers telemarketing.

Dynamics like these always make it tempting to ask:

“Uh, did you hear anything I just said?”

But I just walk away or hang up. How many of your prospective customers, clients, patients just walk away, or hang up?

C’mon, people! If you’re in sales, or healthcare, or law, or consulting, and you can’t get it together enough to listen attentively enough to prospective customers, patients, or clients, and be able to address their needs, go work for your nearby automobile or mattress dealer. You’ll fit right in.

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Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US  or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

Make today a GREAT Day for someone!


One comment so far

One Comment to “LISTEN TO THE QUIET . . .”

  1. Jonena Relthon 28 May 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Well said, Hal. People do prefer to buy from sales people who listen so to understand their prospect’s needs. And it’s so refreshing when a sales person says, “I think I understand what you need, but that is out of my specialty. However, I know someone that might have just the solution you’re looking for. Would you like their name or contact information?

    You win more sales by helping people get their needs met than strong arming people to buy a spieled product.

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