This morning I met with a wonderful couple that needs to sell their home in Liberty, MO. I’d spoken with the wife briefly on the phone a few days earlier and got quite a bit of the information that I needed. We took about one hour to tour their home, then sat down at the table and went over the market analysis I brought with me. During this time I continued to ask questions about their family, the home improvements they’d done, and what they hoped to get in their next home purchase.

I typically like to let the clients talk about 70% of the time, and I try to talk no more than 30% of the time. It’s been my experience that I need to let them do most of the talking so I can determine if I can help them. If I do all the talking, it does not work.

When we finished, I thanked them and stood up to put on my coat. At that point the wife glanced at her husband and then back at me and said, “Ron, I think we’re both on the same page and we want you to help us with our home sale and finding a new home.” I said, “Judy, that makes me very happy to hear that. Would you mind sharing with me how you were able to make this decision so quickly?”

I loved Judy’s answer. “Well we read through many of your past client reviews on Zillow so we already knew a lot about you. I guess everything you’ve said here today makes sense to us, but I guess what I love the most is that you seemed to care about us more than the other agents we interviewed. They just wanted to tell us how great they are and how much they know.”

What Judy and Tom did not realize is that I really didn’t talk that much about me. I simply asked a lot of questions about them and their needs. Judy had already read everything she wanted to know about me online. She clearly thought I was capable of helping them or she wouldn’t have invited me to their home to meet with them. Great salespeople know that by asking a lot of questions, you get to know the clients needs, but it also makes them feel like you care about them. It makes them feel like they are important. There are plenty of very smart people in the world that know their business inside and out, but research shows time and again, people buy from people that care about THEM!

Let me give you an example that I just had happen to me personally. I’ve been using the same carpet and flooring contractor for the last 10 years. When Sam Byler decided to close the doors and retire at the end of last year, I knew I would need to find a replacement. To Sam’s credit, he’d taken such good care of my clients that I never needed another carpet guy. I decided to interview several flooring contractors to make sure I found “another Sam Byler.”

Several agents recommended one particular lady and said, “She’s awesome!” I booked an appointment to meet with her in my office so we could talk and make sure she understood exactly what I need and expect from one of my vendors. When she arrived, she seemed scatterbrained and unprepared. She plopped a bunch of samples down on the conference table and proceeded to vomit all of the information that she just learned at a flooring trade show in Las Vegas. Apparently she thought the way to sell me was to tell me everything she knows and then I would clearly be impressed enough to buy from her. Sure, this was all great information, but when she left I seriously doubted that she knew anything about my needs. She interrupted me several times and when I tried to talk she just wouldn’t shut up and listen. I even told my Chief Operations Officer, Elizabeth Gilbert, “I don’t think she even heard a word I said. My concern is that if I send her to meet with one of our clients, she won’t listen to them either.”

A few days later, I drove to Liberty to meet with Richard Nibarger of Richard’s Carpet and Tile. It was late in the day and I knew they were about ready to close up and lock the front door when I arrived, but Richard greeted me, gave me a quick tour of their store, and then asked a lot of questions to determine my needs and the needs of my clients. We didn’t talk about how many brands of carpet they carry. We didn’t talk about how long they’ve been in business. We didn’t even talk about Richard’s background or experience, although he clearly knows the carpet and flooring business. All he did was listen and ask questions to make me feel like I was important. That’s what great sales people and business owners do. It’s not about them, it’s about the customer. That’s why I’m now recommending them to all my clients.

Have you ever had a great experience with a sales person in the past? I’m willing to bet it’s because they made it about YOU and not about THEM.