Wow, now that is surely a test. And why would you want to be quiet for 30 minutes? I’m going to challenge you. I want you to approach two of your customers. One should be a customer who has been with you for a very long time, one whom you know more about than most of your others. The second customer should be someone you don’t know as well. Perhaps you’ve only been working with this other buyer for a few months. You think you’re on the verge of a long-term relationship but haven’t quite gotten past the getting-to-know-you stage yet. Now, think of two questions to ask each of these customers that will reveal something about them that you don’t know – and that will keep them talking. Then ask and listen carefully to their responses. What do you hear? What do you really hear? Do you find that you want to jump into the conversation after a few minutes and quickly solve their problems at the beginning? Do you feel the urge to turn the conversation towards yourself and your business in order to let your customer know what you can do for him? Caution: It’s not about you. It’s about your customer. If you take time to really listen, you may just learn something. More importantly, you’ll show that you care about your customer’s problems more than your own. Can you do it?