There is a lot to say about silence. It is considered golden, uncomfortable, wise, creepy and so forth. There is a lot to be said about a person who is comfortable with silence, and this is not said about many people in sales. We talk. We love to talk. We hang on to our own every word. Like a fish that swims we just can’t seem to stop doing it. In fact, when the other person says nothing, we take it as a signal that they want us to keep talking, but we probably just misread them. Why does the concept of silence make us feel weak as a salesperson?
Silence demonstrates a number of things to a buyer that can actually make them feel more comfortable and give you more opportunities. To the buyer, it may demonstrate that you are a patient listener instead of a pushy salesman. It can show that you are careful with your words which expresses carefulness in selling them something that they actually need. Silence demonstrates that you can control your emotions and impulses making it easier to plant purchasing cues to the buyer. There is a lot of power in a quick pause.
How do we as salespeople invoke the power of the pause? Now, that sounds like a simple and silly question, but many of you struggle with this so here are some easy techniques that you can, and should, be trying.
- Pause and wait your turn – We are so eager to talk that when someone else is talking, we automatically deactivate our listening and spend the time crafting our next response. Slow down and listen to what is being said and demonstrate that you heard their point.
- Do not interrupt, just pause – We all know that it is rude, yet many of us still do it. It is because we are eager to speak but it comes across as disinterested in the other person. Control every urge in your body to interrupt someone.
- Pause for 3 seconds before you respond – This can seem like an eternity in the moment, but what it really does is cleanses your mind before words just plop out of your mouth like so much garbage. It also gives the buyer a moment to readjust her focus and dial in on what you’re about to say instead of thinking about what they want to say next.
- Take a pause when you speak – Silence is extremely disruptive when it comes to noise. It instantly gets our attention because our mind tells us that there is a significant change in the environment. Your senses sharpen quickly and focus on whatever comes next with great intensity. This is important for the many of us who like to speak in run-on sentences. Take a 3 second break for every minute you speak and you will keep the listener engaged.
- Make the ask and then pause – The silence after we ask for the business is crushing no matter how long it lasts. But this is the silence that will make or break you. Do not, under any circumstance, be the next person to speak. Hold your pause because if you don’t, you will begin to dismantle the sale by double talking, offering discounts and talking in circles. When you do not pause after the ask, you have handed the game to the buyer in a way that they can leverage the moment to the terms that they want.