Way back in 2000, I wrote a Valentine’s piece for this newsletter on the Top Ten Reasons Why Sex and Selling are Alike: http://www.tildensst.com/Newsletter/Top%20Ten%20Reasons.htm. I was reminded of that offering when I read a recent New York Times article on Why Remarry? by marriage expert and author of Marriage, A History, Stephanie Coontz.
Based on many oral histories she has conducted on successful second marriages, she observes that second time around, “women change what they are looking for in a potential mate. They said they were drawn to men who listened to them rather than trying to impress them.”
Again, I thought about the similarities between romantic and business relationships and how many of us are guilty of trying to impress rather than listen. Judging from the presentation materials I see, the answer is plenty.
Routinely, the slides and pitch books I review are all about trying to impress a prospective client of how big, old, famous, or award winning they are without showing they have first listened carefully. Here’s a simple audit to conduct to determine if you are listening rather than trying to impress:
• Check your slide deck. How many slides are about you compared to how many are about them?
• In what order are they placed? Do the slides about your prospect come first, as they should?
• When you debrief a recent sales call, how much time did you talk compared to the prospect or client? If you did most of the talking, it was a bad call.
Remember that selling and business in general is all about relationships. To build lasting ones, check to make sure you are doing more listening rather than trying to impress.