You Have Two Ears and One Mouth For A Reason

“It takes a great man to be a good listener”
~ Calvin Coolidge former President

I was out on a business trip in Cleveland last week and I saw this quote hanging up in the office of a sales rep.

It read, “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason.”The reason? We should listen twice as much as we speak.

It’s a great message – a message we must never forget.

Being a great listener truly is one of BIGGEST keys to success in this business, especially when you are giving a free consultation.

But even with a giant sign of the quote hanging in front of your eyes, it can sometimes be hard to follow for those of us who are blessed with the gift of gab.

No offense, but people aren’t in your office because you are great and funny guy. They didn’t come to listen to you speak. They are here because they need something, and you are in the position to help them with that.

Perhaps a visualization may help.

When holding a prospect meeting or free consultation, picture a spotlight on the ceiling that shines brightly on whoever is talking at the time.

There are two things the spotlight should be on – the prospect and the product. It’s your job to stay out of the spotlight as much as possible.

Sales meetings are about gathering information. You won’t learn a thing about a prospect if your lips are flapping all the time.

If ever the spotlight shines on you, it’s because you are asking questions, follow-up questions, answering their questions, and discussing products relevant to needs they state they have.

Find out not just what they want, but why they want it, what needs and wants does it satisfy. Tell them straight up that you are asking all these questions so you can offer a product that meets their specific needs.

The biggest mistakes you can make are assuming you know what they want and telling them what you think they want.

Even if your hunches are right, the customer has to be the one that first says what they need. Otherwise, you can come across as a know-at-all huckster who is “dealing” to just another prospect. By letting their concerns drive the meeting, the prospect cannot walk out thinking you failed to address their needs.

Another mistake is rattling on about your line of products, or diving too far deep into a specific product before they show interest in it.

At some point, yes, you will have to dive into details. But never go a few minutes without checking in on your prospect. Are you still addressing his or her key concerns? Is what you are saying relevant to their needs?

Listening is a skill that one can always improve on. Thankfully, we don’t have to hold a free consultation to hone the skill.

Practice with your spouse, children, or friends (Or your mother-in-law if you have steel nerves!). Have them tell you a story or a list of their favorite anything, and try to recite back as much as you can remember.

Keep working at it. You may not see an improvement on a daily basis, but I’m sure that you’ll see the difference months down the road when revenues and closing rates are noticeably higher.

Be valuable.

John McCarthy
Managing Editor,

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Brian J. Kay, Executive Director, Leads4Insurance
921 Port Washington Blvd., Suite # 3 Port Washington, NY 11050
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