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Listen Up (or Why You're Hearing "NO" a Lot)

Why do women often sell better than men?

Two words...

They listen.

And I'm not saying that just because I happen to be a woman. The data supports it. In a study compiled by revenue intelligence company Gong, effective salespeople are better listeners and women closers listened 16 percent more than their male counterparts.

I'm a Potential Customer. Please Don't Talk AT Me.

I am on the receiving end of at least 100 sales pitches every week. And technology seems to have contributed to the increase in random pitching and the death of listening.

I run a small marketing consulting and content writing company. I've had my business for 18 years.

Asking me a few simple questions would inform a salesperson as to whether I'm a good prospect for what they're selling. But here's what I'm subjected to each day:

  • Mass LinkedIn messages promise me more leads.

  • I get asked for the name of my Human Resources Director or VP of IT (as if I am running a major enterprise organization).

  • Recently, I got a note addressed to Joan. As you can see in the byline, my name is Nancy. ARGH! Was it a bot or a human who made the error? It really doesn't matter.

Personalization is right up there with listening as the key to a buyer's heart and wallet.

Selling is Like Dating

Alas, that's a topic I know way too much about.

You wouldn't just show up at someone's home at an inconvenient time and start talking to them about what a great person you are. Even if you brought flowers, the "prospect" inside might call the police on you.

And, if you were actually sitting across the table with your prospective match you would, most likely, take a breath on occasion and find out what they're looking for in a suitor.

Not to be crude, but forcing a tech demo on someone when they don't even know you is equivalent to flashing them. Your junk may be lovely, but please let me get to know you before you show it to me.

And no...I do not want to schedule an appointment using Calendly when I have no clue who you are or why you want to speak to me.

So, in Closing (pun intended)...

I realize that salespeople can be under tremendous pressure to make quotas within short timeframes. But by taking the time to do these things, they may see better results in the long run:

  • Know exactly who you're talking to.

  • Listen.

  • Take the time to build a relationship before you move in for the sale.

Companies need to invest in the right research to better understand their prospects and give their teams the tools, skills, and data they need to do their jobs. They should consider hiring more diverse teams that better reflect the population they're targeting.

And they should use some of the great AI-powered tools that are now out there to help them understand why some people are better salespeople than others.

Although it's still a human profession, data (like the report quoted at the start of this article) can hold the keys to effective selling.

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