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So I joined a group for a teleclass today, as an attendee. I logged on a few minutes early and found a small group on the line already. What was interesting about this group is that there were maybe 5 or 6 people already on the line, and yet only one person was talking. Every exchange ended with this man jumping in and turning the conversation back to himself. "This is what I have been doing and this is what I’m going to do, and blah…blah…blah.."

His voice wasn’t really that pleasant, so it was a bit grating to listen to. Even worse than this, though, was how much he was talking. He made it SEEM like he was connecting with others on the call, but, really, he was using the call to showcase his own talents and expertise. He was sure to mention that he was extremely skilled and had lots of experience and was doing this kind of work and that kind of work, etc. etc. etc.

He was very busy selling himself, but, the problem for him was that nobody was buying. He dominated the conversation and lost opportunities to truly connect.

Being a good listener is incredibly important in business. You learn a lot just by listening. Now, of course, since my background is in psychology, I probably tend to listen more than most other people. But I will tell you- in most sales conversations I’ve been in, the more I listened, the easier it was to get the business.

Most people want a place to be heard and understood. Effective marketing is geared towards making your clients feel and believe that you truly understand their pain. So why would you blow it when you’ve gotten them on the phone (or in email) and do exactly everything possible to stop listening to them?

It’s almost like deception in advertising- your marketing says, "Come here…I understand you… I’ll listen…help you…" but your sales call is more like, "I am so great, this is what I have done. Oh yes, and listen to what I did…."

This kind of disconnection between the feel of your marketing and the feel of your sales will leave your potential clients feeling misunderstood, angry, and probably wondering what happened. They might even be annoyed that they were ‘tricked’ into believing you would care about them, when talking with you showed that you clearly did not.

Of course, most of the time, over-talking is not really intended to be disrespectful or uncaring. Many times, we get nervous or anxious and try to keep the conversation going. We might feel pressure about ‘closing the sale’ when we really should focus on connecting with the client.

In your next sales conversation, focus on talking 20% of the time, and listening 80% of the time. Pay attention to how the sales process feels- and note the outcome. If you and the client decide to work together, notice if it was easier or more difficult to gain this business compared to other calls. I believe it will be easier.

So, the point of this message is don’t be like the teleclass guy- too busy selling that you forget to connect.