Ever heard of the 43:57 Rule? It has to do with how less talking actually converts to more sales. Here’s how:

Why We Talk More

Research shows that talking activates the same pleasure centres as cocaine, sex and food. (Source: Mini Philosophy, Johnny Thompson). But is it hurting your sales?

The 43:57 Rule

Analysis of 25,000 sales calls measured sales reps’ ratio of talking versus listening. Obviously, as given away by my blog title, the research found that when only 43% of the time was spent by the rep talking, they closed the most amount of sales. Conversely, when the rep talked 60% of the time or more, they had the lowest conversion rates. Hence, was born the 43:57 Rule.

Why Talking Is Bad

Talking isn’t bad in sales. Too much talking though, takes time away from the most important element of a sale: listening. Even in my professional coach training, examiners would penalize or even fail certification candidates during testing for talking too much or even for asking closed-ended, leading questions. Similarly in sales, lack of listening translates to lack of interest in the prospect. Which almost always results the lack of a sale.

Ask Questions

Instead of talking the majority of the time, how about asking questions of your prospect(s). First set up the situation as “is it ok if I ask a few questions to understand your needs?”. Asking for permission is a huge trust builder with the buyer.

Ask the Right Questions

Once you have permission, go ahead and ask your buyer about what their vision is for their future perfect. Then take them through questions around what has gotten in their way before now and what it will cost them to do nothing about the problem they’re facing. Lastly ask for permission to share your process to help. Don’t talk for the sake of talking. Don’t talk about yourself. Ask pertinent, strategic questions instead.

Ask the Right People

You do all the right things in your sales conversation but if the decision makers aren’t there, you won’t close the sale. After all, research shows that a close is 80% less likely if the decision maker isn’t in the sales meeting. So go ahead and set up the meeting prior to showing up by asking who else needs to be there to decide on both purchase and budget.

Active Listen

Listening isn’t easy to do. I know, because we had a whole course on it in Coach school. So look for opportunities to always ask open-ended (non 1 or 2 answer questions). Use silence powerfully by pausing after asking big questions. Make eye contact and take notes as the buyers speak so that you can use their exact language to mirror back to them that you are on the same page.

Speaking less does indeed sell more but you have to make the most of what you do say. When you use the above techniques, you can truly command control of your sales conversation and dramatically improve your close rates.

Want to reposition your messaging to grow your leads? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch my Podcast on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk.

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