In watching the TV show Shark Tank, it occurs to me that people in general talk too much – especially when they’re nervous. Almost every time the business person asking for an investment stops talking and waits for the Sharks to respond, they get a better outcome than the ones that just keep talking even to the point of constantly interrupting the people they are trying to get help from.  They end up talking the Sharks out of investing.

It is the same when you are selling anything to anyone. I am not a salesperson but I have one of the best sales coaches. His name is Hugh Liddle of Red Cap Sales Coaching.  One of the things he taught me was to stop and listen. If I don’t, I could miss the biggest reason my prospect needs my services. Listening is actually an art form. If you are thinking of what to say next you will not truly hear what the person is trying to say to you.

Several times the Sharks tell the business person the exact strategies they should use such as licensing, franchising or even talking to distributors. They’ve even told people “you don’t need us; you are doing fine on your own”. Yet even when being told something they should take as huge compliment, they just keep on talking. I realize the objective is to get the investment, but if they stopped to listen they would learn what their next step should be even if they didn’t get the investment.

One thing I wish someone would ask the Sharks – especially when told they are doing great and don’t need an investor is, “In that case, would one of you be willing to have a phone conversation with me in about six months for 30 minutes – no money or anything else involved.” this would be an even better opportunity for these business owners. Often just talking to someone who is at or beyond the point you want to be will inspire you to keep going. And they might just give you the next steps to take in the process.

So who do you look up to in business? Do you know this person and are they at or beyond the success level you want to be at? Ask for their input, but don’t forget to stop talking – and listen.