Statistics Confirm: Talk Less and Listen More for Success

“You have two ears and one mouth, use them accordingly,” “Talk less, listen more.” These are two quotes we often hear. Some of us might remember when we were children our mother’s drumming this into our young heads. I know mine did.

Last year, did a study of 25,537 sales transactions between a seller and a buyer. A summary of their findings follows:

  1. Across all 25,537 conversations, sellers spoke 70% of the time and buyers about 30% of the time.
  2. Across only those that resulted in a sale, the seller spoke 43% of the time and the buyer spoke 57% of the time.

Now, you might say to me, “Steve, this data is great, but selling a product or service is much different than leading a transformation.” I disagree. The fundamental underlying similarity is that both require influence. In the sales transaction, the seller is influencing the buyer to buy. In transformations, the leader is influencing the employee to adopt the transformation.

Influence is the key to success in both scenarios. Inquiry goes much further than advocacy whether you are selling a product, service or a transformation.

The message? Talk less. Listen more. Apparently about twice as much as you are currently (57% vs. 30%).

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,


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