Friday, November 21, 2008

Learn by Listening

I've seen salespeople who think that the gift of gab is what works.

Usually the best sales job they ever do is the interview that gets them the job, then it's all downhill.

Art Sobczak has some insight:

Three Secrets for Getting People to Open Up


We can learn a lot from expert interviewers
in other professions.

Peter Kessler is probably one of the best
interviewers I have ever seen or heard.
He was on The Golf Channel a few years ago,
and now does a golf show on XM satellite radio

His ability to get guests to open up, help them feel
at ease, and say things they've never said before
is uncanny.

Questioning is the foundation of sales, and
Peter Kessler is a master. In a "Golf Digest"
magazine interview, Kessler was asked what
he did to prepare for his TV show before The
Golf Channel went on the air in 1995.

He said he watched other interview shows,
including tapes of old ones. In one show
with Tom Snyder from the Tomorrow program,
he said he was able to gather ALL of the rules
he would follow.

Snyder was interviewing Paul Newman.
He started by saying to Newman, "Tell
me how you broke into film."

Kessler thought to himself, "What a good

Newman replied by saying, "Well, in 1947..."

That's as far as he got before Snyder broke
in with, "I've got to interrupt you and tell
you how I broke into radio."

Kessler said he went crazy, wanting to
throw things at the TV. He realized that he,
and most of the audience, wasn't interested
in how Snyder got into radio. They wanted
Newman's answer!

So, Peter Kessler wrote down these three
rules. And they're good rules to follow in
our own sales questioning. (My comments
are after each.)

1. Don't interrupt the guest.
What they have to say is much more important
that what you have. You're questioning to get
information from them, right? Ask a question,
then shut up. And pause after you think they
have finished--they might continue with even
better information.

2. Never say "I."
The focus is on THEM during this part of the
call. Instead of "I, "me," and "my," use "you"
and "your."

3. Never talk about yourself.
You will never learn anything by talking. Especially
about yourself. When you analyze it, it is quite
ludicrous to think about a salesperson talking
about himself during the fact-finding part of
the call. The only way we can effectively sell
is by learning about them.

Be aware of these three simple points this week
in your own questioning. Also make a note to
observe the styles of other interviewers on the
radio and TV to see if they follow these rules.


"Never speak of yourself to others; make them
talk about themselves instead; therein lies the
whole art of pleasing.
Everybody knows it, and
everyone forgets it."

Edmond and Jules de Goncourt


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