There is a common misperception that extroverts (chatty people) make the best sales people and leaders. Adam Grant at the Wharton School conducted research which proved that introverts are actually more effective in sales than extroverts, with "ambiverts" (people who are a mixture of extrovert and introvert) being the most effective of all. So there's not exactly an inverse relationship between talking and sales success, but excessive talking at the expense of exploration and attentive listening will absolutely undermine our business development efforts. Here are three rock-solid reasons to stop talking:
- We should be listening. Listening is a core and critical behavior in the development and nurture of the customer relationship, and we simply cannot talk and listen at the same time. Only by listening can we understand the buyer's needs and motivations, as well as demonstrate our own interest and concern for his or her challenges and objectives.
- It adds weight to your words. Words are like any commodity, the smaller the supply, the greater the value. We all know people who don't say much, but when they do speak, everybody listens. When it comes to talking in a sales call or business meeting, quality is far more important than quantity. In fact, when we talk too much, those superfluous words actually dilute our most impactful and valuable insights.
- Leave them wanting more. Make it a goal in every sales call to leave the participant(s) wanting more time or another meeting. One good habit is to end every appointment earlier than planned, and never run over the allotted time, except at the specific request of the customer. Running over your allotted time reflects disrespect for other attendees' time and will undermine your efforts to get that next meeting.
The take-away is not that extroverted behavior and talking are "bad." Rather, the lesson to be learned here is that, within the context of the customer encounter, our objectives are better aligned with listening to understand, so that when we do speak, it is as an informed and credible business advisor.