Marvin LeBlancEver wonder what’s going through the head of a client or prospect when you meet? Marvin LeBlanc offers four possibilities that could help you improve your sales technique.

1. “Hold up, hold up, slow down. You’re talking too fast, and your enthusiasm is kind of scaring me. Other fast talkers I know don’t let me get a word in, and it really makes me feel like it’s a one-way conversation.”

Most clients probably feel this way because the conversation is one-way. If you really want someone to buy, just ask value-oriented, interest-bearing questions that allow clients to do most of the talking.

2. “Get to the point. When you called me, you explained that you were going tell me about your company, what you do and how it can benefit me. So, if it’s not asking too much, when you show up, can you cover what you want to tell me, exactly in that order?”

Customers are much more impressed when you engage them with organized, thoughtful conversation. The days of 10 to 15 minutes of pleasantries to warm prospects up are long gone. You only have 90 seconds to get your motor running because everyone is busy and time is precious. You don’t need to hurry up; you just need to say more using fewer words.

3. “Take a HINT! Get a MINT! I’m so sorry, Ms. Practitioner. I really don’t want to hurt your feelings; however, your breath speaks so loudly that I don’t want to hear a single thing you have to say.”

If you’re sitting there reading this and saying, “That’s not me” — chances are it is you. 100% of us have bad breath, and you are no exception. Bad breath is easy to prevent, as long as you are aware of it. When I pass a bakery and smell fresh homemade bread coming out of the oven, I immediately want some, even if I am not hungry! The smell has created a positive sensation in my brain. Bad breath is a negative sensation, and a client’s brain will tell him or her that you might be inconsiderate and lack the attention to detail required of a professional. Even if your products and presentation are great, customers often can’t get past the bad breath.

4. “You’re talking too long and not saying anything. Now remember, on the phone, you asked me for 22 minutes of my time, right? Well, why was I the one who needed to stand up after you burned through your 22 minutes?”

Be courteous to clients by saying “Our time is up,” and then let them decide whether to continue. You should be able to communicate to them about your company, what you do and how it can benefit them within the time you requested. Chances are, if you weren’t interesting enough in the first 22 minutes, you won’t get a client interested for the next 22 hours. If you want customers to respond better, you need to get better.

My fellow professionals, I will share with you a question that I tape to my rearview mirror, my bathroom mirror and my computer screen (and you should, too): “How can I make marvelous happen with every customer interaction?”

Take time and think about this question. I promise: you will become more irresistible to your clients. Until next time — be marvelous!

Marvin LeBlanc is a left-handed, right-brained, fun-loving Cajun who is obsessed with life performance and overcoming adversity. Marvin has been a fully licensed insurance professional since 1986 and is president of Marvin D. LeBlanc Insurance Agency. Marvin is an entrepreneur, writer, speaker and the founder of Marvelous Performance Systems. Marvin is available for business retreats, keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops and individual coaching programs. His Katrina comeback memoir, “Come Hell or High Water,” will be available in the fall of 2011 through New York publisher www.bloomingtwig.com. To rent Marvin’s brain or inspire your underperforming group, contact him at www.marvinleblanc.com or (225) 938-4177and request a free, fun conference call. He returns all voice messages within 24 hours unless he’s no longer alive.

For more on working with customers, see:

Finding Your Most Precious Misplaced Item: The Customer

Putting the customer first

Customer Service and Special Risk