In the Gong Research Labs series, we publish data from analyzing sales calls with natural language processing and AI. Subscribe here for new data every week.

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“Mmhmmm…” “Mmhmmm…”

It seemed like those were the only two words he uttered the entire phone call.

I had just closed a chapter of my life running my own startup, and I was seriously considering joining Gong to run product marketing in the US.

Amit Bendov, Gong’s CEO, started our call by asking me what I wanted from my career; both as a next step and over the long-term.

And boy did that unleash a floodgate.

I must’ve have spoken uninterrupted for 9 minutes straight without Amit uttering anything more than the acknowledging sound of “mmhmm” and the occasional “tell me more.”

In a business context, it was the first time I had felt deeply understood by another person in at least a year.

That was a gift.

And here I am at Gong. Running product marketing.

It turns out, that’s probably not a coincidence.

In our second major cohort of analyzing massive amounts of B2B sales conversations using AI, we found there is a direct correlation between how long you can get your customer speaking uninterrupted, and closing the deal.

Let’s take a closer look…

The Correlation Between “Customer Talking Streaks” and Progressing and Closing Your Deal

The longer you can get your customer talking with little-to-no interruption in one go, the better chances you have at closing the deal–or moving it to the next tangible milestone (in the case of being early in the sales cycle).

When sales professionals are able to get the potential customer to talk for 4 minutes straight within a call (with only minor interruptions such as clarifying and directive questions, etc.), the probability of winning the deal steadily increases:
Effect of Customer Talking Streak
If you only manage to get your customer to talk in a straight line for 50 seconds, chances of closing the deal are lower than average.

This applies to every stage of the sales cycle, including prospecting (as you can see).

Most people, by and large, go through their day-to-day lives never feeling truly understood by another person.

When you’re the person to finally give another person the gift of feeling truly understood, they will feel as if they just received emotional oxygen.

Their emotional state will transform from a background humming of tension and frustration, to a flooding feeling of relief.

They’ll emotionally feel like they can breathe again.

Now the question is how do you make that happen? Hey, I’m just presenting the research. That is a question for another day!

How to Apply This

Okay, I can’t resist. Here’s one really interesting way to go about it…

Instead of endlessly peppering your potential customer with question after question in an attempt to get them to “open the floodgates,” try this…

After you’ve asked an effective question, and the prospect answers, complete the following sentence when the prospect is finished speaking:

“It seems like you _______________________________”

where the “blank” is an emotion you observed your prospect express.

Example:

“It seems like you’re personally frustrated by this problem your company is experiencing.”

Now stop talking. Let the silence do its work.

If the emotion you “labeled” (filling in the blank) was accurate from the prospect’s point of view, they’ll continue talking a great deal more without feeling like they’re being peppered and interrogated with endless questions.

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Chris Orlob

Chris Orlob is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Gong.io

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