Talking too much means repeating the same thoughts again and again which all over-talkers do. In my sales seminars I tell salespeople that when they keep on blabbing, a customer’s desire to buy drops dramatically. The result is that the salesperson ends up with the jewellery instead of the customer. Whenever I ask salespeople at my jewellery sales seminars: “Who should talk the most, themselves or the customer?”, they always answer: “The customer.” When I ask, “Who actually talks the most?”, they reply: “We do.”
To correct this problem, it is important to know what the causes are. Here are six reasons why salespeople talk too much.
- NERVES – They do not know what to say after they have made a statement so they just keep on talking and repeat themselves. It is obvious to their customers, but not to the salespeople.
- CANNOT STAND SILENCE – There is an old saying in selling: “The first one who talks loses.” Salespeople feel they must fill in the gap before their customer can reply. This voids interaction and does not allow the customer to participate in the sale. It’s a major reason why customers walk.
- INSECURITY – They are afraid to let a customer reply because of the fear of rejection, so they just keep on talking without pausing.
- EGO – They are proud of their product knowledge. This is especially true if they recently acquired a qualification and cannot wait to tell all they know. (This usually takes an hour, but salespeople don’t like to admit it.)
Whenever I ask a salesperson if their customers have actually asked for all that information, they skirt the question and give me these answers:
- I believe a customer should know everything about the diamond they are buying;
- I want my customer to know I am a gemmologist to show them how much knowledge I have and why they should trust me;
- I don’t know what else to say when I show a diamond. I think telling my customers all about the 4Cs will hold their interest;
- It is my soft sell approach to show them I am really not trying to sell them, but to tell them all the facts and let them make up their mind.
This is where ego gets salespeople in trouble. They assume their store is the only one the customer has visited. They do not want to hear that most customers go to more than one jeweller and at the store they visited before, their gemmologist gave them the same long lecture. This suppresses the customer’s emotions. He was visualising giving this to his wife for an important occasion, perhaps an anniversary and getting a lot of hugs. That vision evaporated and so did the sale.
- I CAN TOP THAT – It’s that ego again. No matter what story their customer tells them, they always have one better and must have the last word. Why should customers buy from a salesperson who keeps topping them?
- HABIT – They have talked too much all their life and nobody had the nerve to tell them to shut up so they just keep on talking.
Some salespeople have three of these problems. If salespeople only knew how they sounded by listening to a recording of themselves, they would be shocked, nor would they believe it. They don’t understand that if they do not try and correct these habits this is what happens:
- After a salesperson’s first sentence if he doesn’t remain silent and let his customer talk, the customer’s attention wanes and by the end of the second sentence they forget what was said in the first sentence.
- Customers tune out salespeople who over-talk. They start thinking to themselves, while the salesperson is talking, “How can I get out of this? And they come up with these rejections: “Let me think about it,” or “this is the first place we’ve looked,” or “I appreciate all the information you gave us, can I have your card?”
- Where is the close? – It’s not there, it never was and never will be if the salesperson doesn’t take a breath and let their customer respond. Some day a customer is going to interrupt a salesperson and say: “Can I buy this diamond now?”
Most salespeople are under the illusion that if they keep on talking it doesn’t give their customer a chance to reject them. They also think the faster they talk the faster the sale. They are wrong on both counts. The faster they talk the slower the sale because their customer loses interest. They start browsing up and down the case and before a salesperson knows it they are into an hour of “Show & Tell,” meaning: “Can I see this?” “Can I see that?”
Whenever I teach a sales technique, I always tell salespeople why it makes sense. I ask them if they are doing all the talking, when do they listen? That gets their attention. Then I tell them to think who are their two friends and say that I bet they have one thing in common. They are all good listeners. They see the light right away and agree. This proves that to win the friendship of your customers, you must allow them to talk more than you. This makes you a good listener. You created a friendship, closed the sale, sold add-ons and now have a repeat customer. That is why good listening skills are a powerful technique that really works.
And here are two big pluses if you take that extra step and discipline yourself to break that over-talking habit. Apply your listening skills to your social life. Let your friends talk more than you and you will be surprised at the attention you will get. In fact they will become better friends. One of my students told me when I returned a year later: “Leonard, I couldn’t wait to tell you. I went home that night right after your seminar and applied my new listening skills. My wife replied toward the end of the evening, Dave, this is the first time in our marriage you have actually listened to me.”
The cure for over talking is very simple. However, it takes discipline. When talking to your customers, you must take turns talking. After the first sentence it is their turn. If they pause do not interrupt them, let them keep on talking.