Sell Successfully By Talking 20% and Listening 80% Of The Time

Have you ever attempted to sell to a prospective customer and felt the frustration of an unsuccessful outcome?  Have you looked back on a unsuccessful sales interaction and realized that you had no idea what the customer wanted or needed?  Both outcomes could be the result of the same behaviors.  They could be the result of too much talking and not enough listening!

Brian Tracy in his incredible book ‘Advanced Selling Strategies’(1) states, “When selling, the sales rep is not simply trying to exchange his goods for the customer’s money.  The sales rep is in fact creating a proposition with enough value in the eyes of the customer that the customer will gladly pay money.”  The only way to know what the customer considers valuable is to listen and observe.  A rep can’t possibly learn this critical information if he is doing all of the talking.

The rule of thumb when selling is to present 20% of the time while listening and observing for cues the remaining 80% of the time.  Cues, both verbal and non-verbal, indicate what appeals – or doesn’t appeal – to the customer.  They indicate if the rep’s approach is resonating with the customer – or not.  Importantly, they indicate if the correct value proposition is near.  It is only once the value threshold is crossed and the most important cue of all – the Buy Signal – is received that the sales process can move to it’s natural and successful ending.  The Carleton Group Sales Training Workshop emphasizes this very point – sell more by talking less.

Sell more by talking less.

 (1) Brian Tracy, Advanced Selling Strategies, Simon & Schuster Publishers, 1995

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Every company benefits from increased sales, smarter spends, and the introduction of new and innovative products. The Carleton Group is uniquely qualified to help companies accomplish their goals in each of these areas.  The Carleton Group, a Management Consulting firm based in Moorpark, CA focuses on Sales Training for all industries, Business Strategy, Planning and Tracking, Financial Projections and Expense Management, New Product Development and Go-To-Market Processes, and Business Start-Ups.  David Pollock, the President of the Carleton Group, enjoys sharing his journey with others and would love to hear about yours.  He can be reached at (805) 390-9374 or