Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sellin' Ain't Tellin'

Are you a good listener?

“What’s better?”  The customer asked me, “The RCA or the Sony?” 

I puffed up my chest feeling happy about the question because now I could spill out all the knowledge I had been accumulating on the products in the television department.  It was my second week on the job and I had been studying all the products non-stop for those two weeks.  Finally, I could impress someone.

So, I let it rip.  I told that poor customer everything I knew about the RCA TV’s, then everything I knew about the Sony TV’s.  He stood there dumbfounded and listened to my entire pitch.  Finally, I stopped feeling very confident and happy about myself.

The customer responded, “Wow. That was a lot of stuff.  You know your televisions.” 

I stood there smiling when he followed with, “That was so much information, I forgot my question.”

“You asked which was better, the RCA or the Sony?” I repeated proudly.

“And, what was the answer?”

 “The Sony,” I sheepishly said.

“I’ll take it.”

Learning my lesson, I shut up and walked over to the cash register and took his order.

I remember—in my interview for this company—the hiring manager asked if I was a good listener.

“Of course,” I replied, “Sellin’ ain’t tellin’” I confidently told my interviewer quoting a famous salesman, Zig Ziglar. 

He hired me; however, on my first sale, clearly I didn’t listen.  I could have sold that guy a Sony in a minute with one sentence and moved on to another sale rather than trying to impress myself with all my knowledge on TV’s had I simply listened to the question.

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