Two Ears and One Mouth Selling

Selling as an interesting occupation and seems to attract many people from all walks of life from their late twenties to their fifties that a looking for something out of life that have not been able to achieve previously.  And far too many are encouraged to take up selling because they are good talkers, have a loud voice or an out-going character.  Yet this should not be the reason to take up selling – at any stage in one’s life or career focus.

Once they get into sales, usually after many tries in different fields because someone was kind enough to “give them a chance” in the sales field they become overjoyed at the prospect of working their own hours, commuting between calls in their own car and are further driven by the higher than usual incomes they have the possibility of earning.  Most will only get this chance because they are inexperienced, and because they are inexperienced, they will usually only get a chance to work on commission only.

Once they begin in their newly chosen “career in sales,” they begin to make the calls, work hard and find a number of their prospects will buy from them.  Why?  Simply because of their enthusiasm, and it’s the same enthusiasm that the prospects saw and wanted to a part of.

A month or so later when the “real world” of what a salesperson should be doing and how they should be performing  beings to “kick in” they may start to become disillusioned because they know are they are working hard but the results aren’t there.

Once they experience this, they begin to understand that there is more to sales they thought there would be.  They become one of the people in sales who haven’t yet reached the professional stage yet.  And what they believe about selling as a professional is the exact opposite of what they think it is.  The reason for this when they first started in the selling field, they thought that their job was to talk and talk and talk, and they did.  But about now, either “the penny begins to drop,” or a college, or a manager suggests they need to listen more.

A little unsure of what they have just been told, only to learn that a professional salesperson, needs to realise that people have two ears and one mouth, and each should be used in exactly that order – you need to listen twice as much as you talk.  In other words, if the seller talks for ten seconds, they should listen for twenty seconds.  That’s not quite the way it needs to be done, but I think you get the message here.  The professional salesperson simply knows when to switch the mouth off, switch the ears on. In other words, instead of overpowering the prospect with a barrage of words, the seller needs to encourage them to talk.

When the novice salesperson understands this one fact, they change for the better and for the first time embark on using vital selling techniques – and this being one of they vital “first” aspects of selling they will usually learn.

They also begin to evaluate their selling ability (once they apply the two ears and mouth ideal), and realize that they are no longer being pushy, or argumentative, or being driven to sell at any cost.  In fact, once they stop telling their prospects things which get the prospect off side by trying to ram their self-serving ideologies down the future clients’ throats.

Essentially the only message they are conveying is that they’re going to force their prospect into buying something for the sake of getting a commission or to get more “stats” on the sales board.  When this happens, whatever the novice sellers motive – that motive is wrong.  And moreover, the prospect will generally sense or feel that there is something wrong.  But what they don’t understand is that these type of tactics usually drive off everyone apart from the few who love to argue.

Experienced salespeople, on the other hand, work hard to never give any of their prospects or clients the notion that they’re pushing them.  No, professional salespeople never push – they lead.  In every sales call the experienced seller will lead their prospects from the initial contact, right through to someone who becomes a happy owner of the product or service through the involvement encouraged by the salesperson in the most professional way.

So let’s reverse the roles for a moment.  Think of yourself as the prospect for a moment or two.  Now recall the time when you’ve presented to, but were surprised at how freely you’ve talked to as certain salespeople before buying from them? Did you also notice how alert they were and how interested to be in what you said at the time?

I bet you felt comfortable in their presence too.  But if felt that you were leading and the salesperson was following – that’s because you were led professionally by this salesperson through experience and know-how.

On the other hand, remember the times you felt you were being pushed by someone in sales that was trying to “ram something down your throat?” And even though you may have wanted to buy at the time, you felt the only way was to “No thanks” just to get rid of them.  Some time later you ended up buying the same or a similar product, and because of the way that salesperson led you, you felt comfortable and ready to sign the order even before the seller asked you for the order.

How did that happen?  That too is because of the way you were led by a seller that understood the rules and followed them to the letter.  You were made to feel at easy from the very start, then once you gave the seller an idea of which direction you wanted the call to go in, the seller then led you towards several alternative paths.  Then once the seller was aware of which were the best paths to take you through focused questioning, he or she just seemed to guide you to buy in a seamless way.  You didn’t feel uncomfortable at any time and you even bought before you were asked to.

That is the way it should be, and that’s what the novice, or less experienced seller needs to appreciate and understand is where they will eventually end up doing with the right information, together with the appropriate tutoring and mentoring by a sales manager or more successful experienced salesperson who appears to on top of his or her “game.”


This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 50 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and has 65 books to his credit, but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
Peter can be contacted through his website –