Recently I saw a rerun of the movie “Pulp Fiction”. While it will never be my favorite movie (not even close) it does have some snappy dialogue that makes it entertaining. And I’ll watch just about any movie with John Travolta.
One of the scenes caught my attention because it could have easily been scripted into a sales training class.
The scene was between John Travolta and Uma Thurman. (Sorry, I don’t remember their character names.) Thurman is the wife of Travolta’s crime-lord boss who has asked Travolta to entertain her for the evening.
Travolta is more than a little nervous but her quirkiness seems to help him relax. In their initial meeting she aims a video camcorder at him and starts peppering him with personal questions.
One of the questions is “do you listen or do you wait to talk?”
His response is that he usually waits to talk but he’s trying to do a better job listening.
That’s a pretty introspective answer for a drugged-up west coast hit man, if you ask me.
It makes me wonder how most salespeople (or anyone who “sells” others on doing business with them) would answer the question. I have no statistical data but here’s my guess as to how the answers might shake out:
30% Wait to talk but are trying better to listen
70% Wait to talk
Most of the time I’m in the 10% group but I do find myself waiting to talk more than I should.
How would you answer Uma’s question? Do you wait to talk or do you listen (or some combination)?
And, if you could poll every businessperson you know, how do you think the results would look?