One of the guys on my swim team is brutally uninteresting. Now, you’re probably imagining some poor, quiet, introverted chap who can’t make eye contact and hardly ever speaks. Wrong.
This guy is talkative, chatty, garrulous, and chronically outgoing. In fact, he has verbal diarrhea—he hardly takes a breath in between sentences. He is an English teacher’s worst nightmare, as he is the embodiment of a massive run-on sentence.
You can ask him a harmless question, like: “How was your workout?” Then you can relax, knowing you’ll never have to respond—or even look at him for that matter—he just launches and talks, incessantly. You could probably leave entirely and he wouldn’t notice.
So, why am I sharing this? My swimmer friend knows a lot; he’s a smart guy. But he’s a monologuer, a one-way communicator. He never asks questions. In fact, I’ve never heard him ask anyone anything!
So, back to my original question: how do become a more interesting person or salesperson? You ask questions and listen!
People love to share their opinions. Look at the “review” feature for websites online. Restaurants want to know people’s opinions; hotels want to know about your recent stay; movies have scores of reviewers. People blog around the clock, sharing their opinions and viewpoints.
When you ask questions and listen, the person on the sharing side feels heard, validated, and affirmed! I would posit that they like you more having been asked for their opinion.
So, the connection to selling is simple. If you want to become the most interesting person you know, help someone else feel that they’re the most interesting person around. As author Nicholas Boothman puts it, your goal is to GET THEM TALKING and KEEP THEM TALKING. Instead of surviving awkward silences in the conversation, think of questions you can ask which will allow the prospect to talk and share his/her opinion.
We’ve all been accosted by a rambling, sales monologue. How does it feel? Right! It feels like you’ve been assaulted by a sales robot. No fun. Salespeople who score higher with me are conversational; they ask a lot of questions. They dig for information. As the prospect, I do most of the talking, because I’ve been asked insightful questions. Having shared, I’m much more open to hearing what the salesperson has to say.
So, if you want to learn to be more interesting, be more interested. Ask questions and listen for useful information. Or as Dale Carnegie puts it: “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.” If you get them talking and keep them talking, you’ll be considered a great conversationalist–and you’ll become good salesperson as a bonus.