We all know the saying ‘Time is Money’. In our business lives, when we waste it or spend too much time on irrelevant matters, we are losing money. Since most of us are not in the infamous 1% bracket, we cannot afford to waste time.
I recently saw an article by Lisa Evans in a magazine called Fast Company that got my attention. The title of the article was Less Is More: Why You're Saying Too Much And Getting Ignored.
Lisa writes that in an age of information overload, brevity is the skill most needed in order to be heard. Many of us still have a tendency to over-explain, send lengthy emails, and book hour-long meetings that only have 20 minutes of real content. Boy does this ring true for the housing industry. Having so much information in our heads about our company, our product and community tempts agents to convey all of it to our prospects. We so want to impart how great our product and community are. Unfortunately too many sales people seldom come up for air when they get into their ‘information sharing’ mode. It makes your head spin when you are on the receiving end.
Remember "Where's the beef?" This originated as a slogan for the fast food chain Wendy's back in 2006. Since then it has become an all-purpose catchphrase questioning the substance of an idea, event, or product. It is brief, precise, memorable and extremely effective. The ad was also very funny.
Most of what we say when we information dump is ignored. The article references Joseph McCormack, author of BRIEF: Making a Bigger Impact by Saying Less who states getting to the point right away is crucial to attract the customer’s attention. Just think of a prospect who visits multiple communities to find the ‘right place’ for them or family members. After going through a verbal gauntlet of information dumping, people get numb. They hear you but are not listening to you. They are tuning you out. When you factor in all the technological input in our daily lives from our smartphones and multiple other sources (texts, emails, etc.), our collective attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. As a result, all of us have learned how to efficiently use the delete button…physically and mentally. If you don’t believe this happens, talk to any parent of a pre-teen or teenager. This age demographic mastered the art of tuning out.
In a sales presentation, you can talk yourself out of a sale by over-explaining rather than listening to the client in front of you. Remember the old adage ‘two ears and one mouth’? Listening has always been important in sales…but never more so than in today’s world.
Not being brief leaves room for doubt.
McCormack says the human brain has the capacity to absorb 750 words a minute, but the average person can only speak about 150 words a minute, meaning there’s an extra 600 words that can float around in the receiver’s brain. Those words, which McCormack calls "the elusive 600," can be used to say “I don’t get this,” “I’m bored,” “What am I going to make for dinner?” Or they can be used to say “I agree,” “That’s a really great point,” and the conversation becomes more active, with the receiver asking pertinent questions rather than tuning out. Our obvious goal in sales is to get our prospects involved in active conversation.
Why Cutting to the Chase is so Hard
Many of us struggle to be brief. Is it because we believe by over-explaining, we can prove how knowledgeable we are? Or is it because we have a tendency to not be prepared? To be brief and effective, you have to make many decisions about what is essential to include. For those of you who have read my Home Front articles over the years, you might recall the numerous times I referenced the importance of preparation in sales. You must know your craft and listen to what is important for your customer. That is how you decide what information you share and not what you, the sales agent, think is important. Additionally, holding back some information provides the sales professional with an effective reason for follow-up contact!
Yet we must be cautious when being brief because if you do not achieve the right balance, essential information will be left out of your sales presentation. Conversation is essential to create rapport and gain trust. But that conversation should not become long winded chit chat. Every sales professional must discipline themselves to deliver the right amount of information, tailored to your prospect’s needs, so an informed purchase decision can be made.
Sales meeting suggestion
Ask you agents how using less information can make their sales presentation more effective and still have a successful sales presentation.
Sales is never easy. When you are ready to determine if your sales team is as memorable as ‘Where’s the beef?’, give us a call! LeBlanc & Associates welcomes the opportunity to partner with you in assessing the effectiveness of your sales team and determine how they create more from less.