You learn nothing while you are speaking

I posted about this last December but it seems to be a subject that comes up over and over again.

People love to talk. They especially love to talk about themselves, which includes whatever it is that they are selling. I can’t count the number of times I have listened to sales pitches that started with a question about what I am looking for only to turn into a marathon session of “Here’s all our services, I’m hoping one fits your need.”

Remember that you learn nothing while you are speaking.

I remember the time I learned this first hand. I was interviewing at Intel and the guy that was interviewing me hardly said a word. He engaged me in some small talk in the beginning and then simply sat back and asked me questions and nodded his head. I really liked it at first. Here I am able to talk about all the great things I had done. But it soon became very uncomfortable as I began to realize that he knew way more about me than I knew about him or the position I was interviewing for. This put me at a huge disadvantage. There were even a few times where he left me hanging waiting to see what else I would say.

The situation applies to selling your service as well. Your job is not to spend as much time as possible talking about yourself or your service, but to ask questions to find out if there is a fit with what you are offering to what they are looking for.

Remember, the listener is always in control, even if the speaker thinks he is.