Monday, December 18, 2006

Do You Know When to Shut Up?

How many times have you been in an interview when you asked yourself, “Is he or she Ever going to shut up?” I have seen both managers and candidates talk so much they went from successfully selling the other person to turning them off. Or have you ever found yourself in a conversation with your manager to convince them to do something differently, and then heard the manager say, “Okay I’m convinced. Don’t say any more.”

Too many times we are so busy talking that we forget to listen. One of the signs of a good sales professional is when they ask questions instead of make statements. They use all of their senses to know when the other person is ready to buy. Then they ask a closing question, shut up and listen. The first person to make a sound loses leverage.

During an interview with a sales prospect in 1995, I decided to employ the interviewing technique of asking a question and shutting up. Every time the candidate thought he was done with that question, I would nod my head and use a hand motion to continue. Don’t you know that he kept going and going for 24 minutes before realizing that he had just blown the interview? It took until this summer for someone to beat his time – another sales prospect. My client did not extend an offer to either candidate.

Once I had a client whose manager was so talkative when he found someone that he liked, he would not shut up. The poor candidate was subjected to 2 hours of his talking. If the candidate survived that, he was given an offer. No lie.

This is a problem for candidates and managers alike.

Take the time to listen to yourself when you are presenting your case. If it feels like you should be quiet, you have probably passed the time for silence.

Thanks for your suggestion, Cindy!