It’s the beginning of the holiday season, and I’d like to talk about a topic that can change both your sales ratio and your relationships.Happy Thanksgiving

The topic is communication. How well do you listen? Years ago, I read a book on sales where the author said that if you want to communicate, you have to listen. They said that the way to tell if you’re a good listener is to notice what you do when you’re interrupted.

So what do you do when you’re interrupted? If you’re on a sales call, the correct answer, the only answer, is that if you’re speaking and your client’s mouth opens, your mouth closes. You stop talking. It doesn’t matter what you were saying, you button up. Even if you were right in the middle of answering a question they asked.

If they interrupt you again, you button up and listen and respond to the new question. If they come back to the previous question or subject, you’ll have an opportunity to finish your thought. If they don’t come back to it, it obviously wasn’t that important to them anyway; that’s why they interrupted.

Buttoning up is hard to do; it’s even harder if you haven’t done it before. It takes practice to learn how to shut your mouth and listen, but until you learn how, you won’t become a good communicator. You’ll never rise above mediocrity in sales.

If you’ve read our book, Profitable Sales; A Contractor’s Guide, you will note that it’s important on every sales call to ask and get answers to the four basic questions. You get those answers by asking questions. You don’t get answers by interrupting or lecturing your potential clients.

How do you train yourself on this technique to be sure that it comes natural during your conversations with others? Ask someone close, your spouse or someone you work with, to interrupt you when you are talking. They are to do this deliberately and at different times during the day so you can train yourself to respond correctly. What’s the correct response? When their mouth goes open, your mouth goes closed.

If you can do this while controlling your emotions at the same time so you don’t become offended or irritated, you’re on the right road. When you practice at home, or over the holidays, you’ll get even better at it. You’ll find yourself doing it naturally on sales calls. You’ll improve your sales-to-leads ratio, which means the opportunity for more referrals and more profitable business.

May the profits be with you.

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