Shut Up And Sell

I’m in the market for a new business coach. So the other day, I posted a question on LinkedIn and asked about 70 people in my network if they knew of anyone whom they’d recommend. Much to my delight, and just 24 hours later, I had about 20 suggestions (thank you network).

One of the potential coaches I spoke with on the phone talked for … not exaggerating … twenty minutes straight. Twenty minutes, without interruption, all by himself, at the beginning of the call.

I’m pretty sure he didn’t take a breath. And I’m definitely sure he didn’t ask me about myself, my business, why I thought I needed a coach, or anything else. Just twenty minutes about who he is, how he works, what his programs are.

Guess who I’m not hiring?

Here’s the thing. I know it’s tempting to jump in and immediately explain why you’re good at what you do. Especially if you’re relatively new in business and are concerned about coming across as expert and capable. But talking about yourself first is exactly the wrong thing to do (even if the person on the other end invites you to).

Remember, they called you, which means they have some kind of problem that needs fixing.

So try this instead. Ask questions and questions and more questions. Help them articulate what the issue is. Ask them to tell you about themselves and (if they have one) their business. Find out why they feel the need to hire someone as oppossed to doing whatever needs doing by themselves.

The point is, let them talk. A lot. Then, and only then, take a run at explaining how you may be of assistance. Believe me, if you learn to stop talking, you’ll close a lot more deals and with a lot fewer words.

7 thoughts on “Shut Up And Sell

  1. Aimee Bradshaw

    Amen, Michael. I just recently called my local Chamber of Commerce to ask about joining. The woman I spoke to said my business would be a perfect fit! Funny…because she didn’t ask anything about who I was or what my business was about! Kinda makes me wonder about joining!!

    1. Michael Katz Post author

      That’s a great example. We’re all so eager to sell the next person (me too) that we don’t even consider whether what we’re selling is a good fit. There’s something very satisfying (if not immediately profitable) in saying, “You know what, I don’t think I’m quite what you need.”
      Happy holidays!

  2. Melanie Kissell

    Let’s face the (rhythm & blues) music!

    We all love to talk about ourselves. So it stands to reason our prospects, customers, and clients want to do the same. “Listening” is the primary skill every online marketer and small business owner needs to hone.

    Loose lips will sink your ship! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no one cares about you. Your target audience only cares about what’s in it for them and how you can solve their pressing problems. You might have impressive credentials, a bucketful of experience, and awards out the wazootie. Doens’t mean a hill of beans so …

    Shut up and sell. πŸ™‚

  3. Michael Katz Post author

    Steve & Melanie – Great points. As someone who loves to talk/write, the “listen first” mantra is hard!

    Bill — Had a coach for 10 years until this past August so very used to and happy with the idea. At the moment, my need is for focus and clarity. So many thoughts and opportunities and I need help narrowing it all down. Watch this space (blue penguin university) for more!



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