I was recently interviewing a former
coaching client, Paul Burke (#16 all-time in production with
Northwestern) for a project I was doing on the Living Benefits of Life
Insurance. He said something in that interview that was very profound
and useful in terms of making more sales. He said, "People
understand in the pauses."
There are several important aspects to
that statement. One is that people can't buy whatever you are
presenting unless they understand it enough to be comfortable going
forward. Two, when you are explaining something to people,
they need time to absorb each key point. If you run the key
points together without any pauses, there is a great likelihood that
the client doesn't really get what you are saying and won't be able to
make a buying decision.
There is a big difference between
understanding the words someone just used to explain something
and actually understanding the concept being explained.
If you ask your client if they "understand" what you just said, they
will usually say "yes," which often means they understood the words
you used. If you ask them again if they really got the concept you are
sharing, they would probably ask you to go over it one more time!
A great test of understanding is to say
to people after each key point in any presentation, "Before we
go on with our discussion, tell me what you've heard so far,"
or "Tell me what you are hearing." You will often be
surprised at how little they are really understanding about what you
are presenting. Don't hesitate to have people tell you what they heard
numerous times in an explanation or presentation.
From a psychological standpoint, we tend
to project our own reality onto other people. We tend to assume
that other people generally know what we know and that they are
generally like us. That is a dangerous perception when it comes to
communication. The reality is that everyone has a slightly different
point of view even if you totally agree on something. We occupy
different physical space. We can't possibly have the exact same point
of view! A good rule for effective communication: don't assume
people know anything for sure without checking, especially if
it is critical to making a sale!
Another quirk of human nature and
especially characteristic of salespeople, we are quick to forget we
may have taken months to learn what we want someone else to get in ten
minutes. I am not saying it isn't possible for your client to
understand in ten minutes, just that most of us tend to talk too much
without any pauses thinking our client is understanding our every
word. We tend to think that, because we understand something, our
client will automatically understand after we have explained the
concept. Again, assuming your client understands what you
just said may be hazardous to your wallet.
If someone can't explain something to me
in simple terms or at least in a way that I can get it, I figure that
they don't really understand what they are talking about. Or at
least there is reason to be cautious.
Keep your explanations dirt simple
and test for understanding more than you think you need to.
Remember the advice of Paul Burke who sells truckloads of permanent
life insurance to some of the most sophisticated people in the
financial world, "People understand in the pauses."
THE BOOK ABOUT LIFE INSURANCE that made the New York Times best-seller
list... If you missed my interview with Pamela Yellen,
author of Bank on Yourself, here is the replay link:
If you decide to apply for a relationship with
mention my name and someone will get back to you right away. They get
a ton of inquiries every day.
Have a productive August,
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