Do You Talk Too Much?
Edition: February 2002 - Vol 10 Number 02
You might avoid her, stop listening to her or simply cut her short.
Ironically, reps who talk too much train their customers not to listen. It's kind of like a Pavlovian response, said Halligan. The doctor cringes when he finds out you're in the waiting room, fearing (or expecting) to get verbally assaulted.
How can reps get their customers to move from being tense (expecting the verbal assault) to being curious? How can reps successfully compete against all the extraneous background ''noise'' in doctors' offices and make their customers feel like the most important people in the world? Here are some tips.
Before you enter the office, get out of your ''talking'' or ''performing'' mode and step into your ''I hear you'' mode.
Look like you're listening. Stop glancing behind or beside the person speaking to you.
Stop competing for ''air time.'' Some conversations become competitive, with both participants afraid to stop talking for fear of losing the floor. (Here's one tip: If you feel yourself getting excited about something you're telling the doc, force yourself to keep touching the back of your chair with your body, said Halligan. That way, you won't lean forward and invade the customer's space and comfort zone.)
Stay in your customer's ''house.'' If you let your customer talk, he or she will undoubtedly give you a target to shoot at, said Halligan. In other words, he or she will end up telling you what they need from a service or product. Then all the rep has to do is present his offering.
Resist the temptation to daydream while your customer is talking. ''Listening should be tiring, hard work,'' said Halligan. If you're not tired when it's over, you might not have worked hard enough at it.
Prepare open-ended questions in advance of the call.
Frame your questions in terms of the customer. What does he or she need?
Paraphrase what the customer has said. Doing so will catch his or her attention.
If you as a rep can keep the spotlight on your customer and off you, you will differentiate yourself in his or her eyes, said Halligan.