“That’s Interesting” Means What?

Dave Kurlan, my friend and colleague, hit the nail on the head with this latest blog post Top 5 Interesting Sales Tips. He brought up an issue about communication that is often overlooked. The issue relates to whether or not people are really listening during a conversation. This pertains to everyone and can be fatal in sales situations. For example, when your salespeople explain your technology, methods, or other key points of interest to their prospects, and the prospects respond with “That’s interesting!”… are your salespeople really listening?

What your salespeople really need to be considering is what does the other person mean? For example, they might be thinking:

  1. These guys might be on to something.
  2. This is so much better than what I’ve seen elsewhere.
  3. This is interesting – I’d like to learn more to better understand it.
  4. I do not understand, but I’m embarrassed to ask a question.
  5. I hate this, but I don’t want to hurt the salesperson’s feelings.

Many of us have learned that we need to be careful when hearing the two words “that’s interesting.” Too often it means either reason # 4 or #5 above! I’ll bet that I hear “Interesting” at least once per day from someone.

The only way to truly know is to ask, “Can you help me out? You just said this concept was interesting, and I’m not exactly sure what you mean. I know that sometimes when I hear “interesting,” the person really hates it … what do you mean?”

If you want to make sure that your salespeople don’t fall victim to happy ears, make sure that they clarify the use of words that can have multiple meanings, words that are vague and can be easily interpreted the wrong way.

Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies and people that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at 305.722.7213 or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.