Monday Mornings with Madison


The human urge to talk is very powerful; it gives us a lot of satisfaction and at the same time gets us into a lot of trouble.

This is especially true when it comes to winning people over to your way of thinking. Most people think that they have to talk to people about their point of view, and they keep talking until their audience agrees with them. They assume that if they talk long enough they will say something great and make the other people come around to their way of thinking.

Let’s look at it from a logical perspective. One of the reasons you like to talk is because someone else is listening. If the other person walked away or fell asleep, you would stop talking (I hope). So you gain a lot of satisfaction by having people listen to you.

So when you want someone to do business with you, it makes sense for you to make them feel good. If you make them feel good, they will like you and enjoy doing business with you. So, wouldn’t it make sense to let them talk while you listen to them? Then, they will feel good about themselves, and you will be the person giving them that feeling. In short, you create rapport between you and the other party. And once you are a friend, he/ she will do business with you because people want to do business with people they like and trust.

Are you ready to give up the short-term satisfaction of talking, in order to build a long-term business relationship by listening? You’ll notice that many sales people talk more than they listen. I believe there are two reasons:

1) They think that selling is talking.

2) They are afraid that if they don’t talk the prospect will think that they are not good enough or that they don’t know enough.

Let’s take a closer look at each one of these ideas.

1) You sell by talking.

Can you accept the fact that you are not selling anything to anyone? All you can do is help people with their buying decisions. This is just more practical, because it is very hard to sell when most people don’t want to be sold. Ask yourself, do you like being sold? If I call you up and say, can I come over to your office for a few minutes, I would like to sell you something? Would you agree? Why not? Because no one likes to be sold, but everyone loves to buy. And if I call you and say, I know that you are considering buying xyz, and I have helped people like yourself with their buying decisions, would you be open to discuss your situation with me? I can help you make the best buying decision based on your situation. How does this feel?

The difference is that when you sell you have to talk. But when you help people buy, you invite them to talk.

2) If I don’t talk the client will think I am not good enough or I don’t know enough.

There is an old saying, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. In sales we are sometimes amazed to see new sales people, who know very little about the products, sign much larger orders than experienced sales people.

The reason is the new sales person, who knows that they don’t know, let the potential buyer talk most of the time. The customer sells himself because he likes the fact that someone is listening to him. And since the customer knows best what he wants and why he should buy, he will do a good job at it.

Sometimes people talk because they are insecure about themselves. As long as they talk, they feel in control of the situation. So every morning before you start calling or seeing people remind yourself, I know what I know and that’s enough. As long as you are focused on your prospects, they will tell you what they need.

This doesn’t mean that you should not have knowledge about your product or service. You should know as much as you can about what you do. But the purpose of this lesson is to build your confidence so you can listen comfortably and know that you can help them make the right decisions when they tell you their needs.


Pay attention to your conversations this week. What percentage of the time are you talking vs. listening? Try to do 70% listening and 30% talking just for this week. See how you feel about it. Do you notice any difference in the way others respond to you?


Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you in trouble. Frank Tyger


Are you really, truly curious about what others have to say?

© 2008 – 2012, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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