How do you handle a customer who talks all the time?

This is Sales Question and Answer #63 from guest poster Dave Kahle, author and leading sales educator.
When you ask a question, you direct the customer's thinking, interrupt his train of thought... Dave Kahle
Q. How do you handle a customer who talks all the time?
A. Your question reminds me of an ex-neighbor – the ultimate non-stop talker. A single guy, he had adopted our family as his, and was in the habit of showing up for dinner at every holiday. One year, he had Thanksgiving dinner at our house. He and I were relaxing afterward in the living room. He was droning on and on. I’m sure you know about the after-Thanksgiving dinner drowses. I nodded off in a short nap. When I woke up, he was still talking. He never slowed down, or even noticed, my ten minute nap. Now that’s a talker.

It might be OK to nod off in the middle of your neighbor’s monologue, but it’s not a good idea on a sales call. There is, however, an easy solution. Politely interrupt with a question. The question should direct the customer to the subject that you want to explore. When you ask a question, you direct the customer’s thinking, interrupt his train of thought, and move him to think and then respond to your direction.

Here’s an example. Let’s say your customer started in on last night’s football game, and has been going on for seven or eight minutes. You’re beginning to get a little groggy, are having a hard time staying awake, and visions of lunch keep popping into your head. In a moment of desperation, you interrupt: “John, excuse me, can I ask how you’re doing with those green widgets you tried last month?”

John pauses, and then launches in on the widget evaluation.

Notice that you were very polite. Notice also that the question stopped his train of thought, and re-directed his thinking to an issue that you wanted to put into the conversation. That’s how the best sales people do it.

This is just one application for the sales person’s most powerful tool: a good question. The incredible power in a question is that it directs the thinking of the person to whom the question is directed. There is something in human beings that, when we are asked a question, we automatically think of the answer.

Conversation proceeds from thought. To stop or change the conversation, you have to interrupt or redirect the thoughts. And, the most powerful tool to do that is a good question.

That’s just one thing that what makes a question such a powerful tool in the hands of a good sales person. A good question has multiple other uses.

So, whenever you want to deal with a customer, or anyone, who is talking on and on, just politely interrupt with a question that directs the customer’s thinking to the area that you want to go.

To learn more about how to yield the power of a good question, check out my book, Question Your Way to Sales Success.

Good luck.

Copyright MMX by Dave Kahle.
All Rights Reserved.
Originally published at davekahle.com

About the author:

Dave Kahle is a successful entrepreneur who, for over 25 years, has served as an internationally-recognized authority in sales and sales systems. His twelve books have been translated into eight languages and are available in at least 20 countries. His focus now is to share the wisdom and insights he has gained with people who want to grow their businesses, enrich their careers, and live a more fulfilled life. He has presented in 47 states and 10 countries. In addition, he is a chapter president for Truth@Work Christian Business Roundtables, and facilitates both local and virtual executive meetings. He and Coleen split their time between Sarasota, Florida and Grand Rapids, Michigan. Visit his blog here.

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