Silence in sales makes some people uncomfortable and others just can’t do it, especially people selling their swag; they miss the power of silence in sales.
Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence – Leonardo da Vinci
Unfortunately startups sometimes think the opposite is true. They think talking about anything and everything they know about the market and their widgets shows how clever they are and will get them the sale.
Quite the opposite is true.
Where silence is powerful in sales
1. After asking a question
You’ll be surprised – startups can’t help themselves, often they interrupt the client and start talking and answering their own question.
Let the prospect answer the question. It’s the only way you will learn how you can truly serve them.
2. After the person answers
I’ve started over and over again selling in different industries for example to motherboard manufacturers in Taiwan (yes really!) and investment bankers (that hurt!). I thought a slot 9 was a new casino game before I started (it was the latest motherboard tech…yaWn!). And I thought a sovreign bond was the latest Bond Movie (a pretty darn good one, I thought – boringly, it’s a government bond). Silence was my secret weapon. I read enough trade press to ask a semi-intelligent question and sat back and listened to the prospect tell me everything they knew on the matter.
You’ll be amazed how much people think and feel they should keep talking when you’re silent, often giving you more detail about their issues and concerns. People simply love being heard.
Learn to pause otherwise nothing worthwhile will catch up to you – Doug King
3. After they’re sold
I remember watching an interview with Simon Cowell – that straight-talking judge from Pop Idol – and he said his biggest lesson when selling his show for the first time was to SHUT UP after you’ve got the sale. He fluffed up sales in the past because he kept talking. This is great advice.
Excited sales people start waffling on and might bring up all sorts of objections and doubts in the client. Just keep quiet and let the client bask in the glory of their decision.
The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly-timed pause – Mark Twain
Today. Next time you have a conversation, practise silence for 2 or 3 seconds longer after the other person answers and see what happens. Then come back and tell me what happened.
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