Why do we often talk more than we should? When other people talk too much, we notice immediately. When we talk too much, everyone else notices except us.
Here are a few possible explanations:
1. Anxiety. People who are anxious use an avalanche of words to avoid dealing with potential conflict (like a prospect saying "no"). Instead of balancing talking with listening, they believe that their wall of words will protect them from what they imagine as a threat. They often refuse to give up control of the conversation by adding a trail of words that echo the ones that they’ve expressed previously.
2. Lack of preparation. The less clear we are on any given subject, the more words it will take us to talk about the subject. Here is an eye-opening exercise. Ask a salesperson to make a presentation about your company as if you were a new prospect. Time the presentation. Next, ask the salesperson to write a brief, but concise description of your product or service in 180 words. Now, read the copy at normal speed. How much time did it take? About one minute. It should not take more time to engage a prospect.
3. Stress. When we are tired, we tend to ramble and our ability to concentrate begins to decrease. Our brain responds to mental fatigue by producing more words and less meaning. The cure: Get enough sleep, eat healthy and exercise regularly.
4. Lack of a roadmap. Do you know where your conversation will lead before you start talking? If not, write down the answers to three questions: What is my call objective? What information do I need to get? What information do I plan to give? Stay on track, stay on message and don’t skip vital steps.
5. Lack of a time budget. Decide to invest a specific amount of time for each call and stick to it. If you are a manager and you want to save time, conduct your meetings standing up. This forces people to be brief and to the point. If you meet with longwinded people, ask the moment they get on your nerves: "We have another five minutes, what else do we need to cover?
6. Lack of humility. Some people think that everything they say is profound and important. When they talk, they experience a rush of good feelings and they often fall in love with their own words. They may use catch phrases and complex language to impress their customers. Being expressive is nice, however good relationships require us to be receptive to others.
7. Ineffective thinking. While some salespeople continue to hopscotch from problem to problem, others quickly get to the core of a customer’s problem, solve it and close the sale. Decide which thinking style would be most helpful to achieve your objective: convergent thinking or divergent thinking? Convergent thinking leads to a focal point in the middle of a circle, divergent thinking radiates — like the sun — away from the center in every direction. Divergent thinking opens people’s minds; it leads to new ideas, thoughts and possibilities. As a result, the conversation goes on and on. Convergent thinking leads to conclusions, and concrete results, like a closed sale.
A note from Kevin: I recently saw this article written in Selling Power Blog by Gerhard Gschwandtner and really liked it. There are some good points applicable to not just salespeople, but anyone that breathes. Perhaps it can help you grow your business. I hope you found this as helpful as I did!