I have been thinking a lot about sales conversations recently. I always talk and write about having open sales conversations; being a sales explorer; living in the moment of the conversation; letting your customer take you where they want to go.
But I have also been thinking about the amount of time a salesperson typically gets with a customer. It’s usually 60 minutes so it feels unlikely that your customer can afford to meet you often And in our hurry up society, where Sales have 12 months to make a target, the last thing they probably believe they have time for is to let a conversation just take its course.
Planning before a meeting is about understanding the questions you want answers to – to move you towards your goal for that conversation; And it’s very likely that when the meeting is not going the way the salesperson wants it to go, that the last thing they are going to do is to let the customer talk without a specific destination.
Sorry can I just interrupt you there?
Apologies for stopping you mid sentence but …
The interruption apology and the salesperson has taken back control and they are on the way to getting where they wanted to get to. but if Mary Kilne in her article ‘Stop interrupting’ is on the money, your customer will have not got very far before this happens. Kilne says the average listening time is 11 seconds – 11 seconds! And how much of the other person talking do you hear in that 11 seconds – is it just giving you space to corral your thoughts ready for your next assault.
To interrupt or not to interrupt.
So… hold back.
Kilne says the promise of not interrupting allowing the conversation to flow means:
1) You start giving the other person your attention;
2) Interest in where the person will go next is sustained and
3) Together you share the ‘stage’
Think of that.
Imagine working together with a customer on a potential solution to a challenge that may have arisen as your customer talks.
We know that the buyer journey has changed, 77% of buyers state that their latest purchase was very complex or difficult (Source: Gartner) and six out of ten of them have four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently (Source: Gartner).
Buyers are looking for help in making their decisions so they will have a lot on their mind, a lot to get out. A non-interrupted conversation could open sales up to becoming…..The trusted advisor….
And if the prize as a trusted advisor is ….
- Improve client loyalty and retention
- Shortened sales cycles and reduce competitive threats
- Reduce the focus on price and increased margins and profitability
Maybe, just maybe, keeping quiet, letting the other person finish, brings your sales destination to you, faster
- Nancy Kilne The Promise that changes Everything: I won’t interrupt you
- Gartner New B2B Buying Journey & its Implication for Sales