The ability to ask the right question. From Colleen Francis’ blog:
Over 20 years ago, Neil Rackham concluded a 12- year study analyzing some 35,000 sales calls conducted by 22 companies in 23 countries. The objective of the study was to determine the precise behaviors of successful sales people.
What did he find? That mediocre sales people make statements. The best ask questions.
That is absolutely true and we see it in spades on a daily basis. Have you ever noticed how people assume someone who is talkative is often told they should go into sales? I think this conventional wisdom is the reason why there are so many overbearing salespeople in the world. Successful selling involves many aspects, but the ability to ask the right question, shut up and listen is foremost among them.