Over the past two years, we have analysed the sales conversations of the top and bottom performers in 22 different organisations, to try to see what the optimal amount of time a sales professional should talk during sales encounters.
When conducting the research, we assumed that the top sales performers were operating optimally and as such we used the amount of time they spoke as the optimum. Conversely, we assumed that the bottom performers were not operating optimally and used the amount of time they spoke as the worst-case scenario.
The results were not at the high end of 80% listening and 20% speaking, as proposed by most sales people during training sessions, but in the case of the top sales performers, they always listened more than they spoke.
Sales Person Spoke Customer Spoke
Bottom performers 76% 24%
Average Performers 69% 31%
Top Performers 42% 58%
As you can see from the research above, the top performers spoke about 40 % of the time and the customers spoke about 60 % of the time.