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Why Aren't Your Sales People Selling?

Tony Cole

Tony Cole

Tony Cole, Founder and CEO of Anthony Cole Training Group


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No Secret to Sales Success - Shut Up and Listen


Ernesto Sirolli does a wonderful job of helping us understand that, in order to get more of what we want, we need to learn to do 3 things:
  1. Ask
  2. Shut Up
  3. Listen
It's not a complicated lesson but one that is abused daily by sales managers and sales people that claim to know better.  I don't mean to be critical, so let me explain. 

I've been coaching and training sales people for over 20 years now.  And EVERY time I get into a sales training session or a one on one coaching call, I cover the same ground and get the same responses.

Q - How do you get a prospect engaged in a conversation?
A - Ask questions.

Q - What do you do next?
A - Listen.

Q - What do you do between asking the question and listening?
A - What do you mean, Tony?

Q - What happens between the time you ask the question and when the prospect starts to answer?
A - I don't know, nothing, I guess.

Q - Is that what you do?
A - I think so.

Q - Suppose they don't answer right away?
A - Well, usually I get a little nervous and start talking again.

And that is where everything starts to go wrong.  The #2 SHUT UP part is really important. That is when the prospect is thinking. They don't want to just blurt something out, especially if you've asked them a great question like how will they go about firing their current provider. 

You see, no one has asked them that question before.  They don't know the answer. They don't know how to answer, so they have to think about it. And what do sales people do? They screw it all up by jumping in with their answers to their own questions.

So, as simple as "ask, shut up, listen" sounds, it is hard to do without great practice and great commitment to focus on the person you are talking to.

What does this mean to you if you are a sales manager?
Go ahead and submit your answer; I've shut up and I'm listening.  There's a space below for you to answer that question - it's the comment box.  I'd like to read your comment.  The collective comments will help me figure out what I will ask or say next.

What does this mean if you are a sales person?
Go ahead and submit your answer; I've shut up and I'm listening.  There's a space below for you to answer that question - it's the comment box.  I'd like to read your comment.  The collective comments will help me figure out what I will ask or say next.

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