The Power of Silence in Sales

How often when asking questions do you immediately try and fill the gap? You know you shouldn’t but in your eagerness you want to keep the conversation flowing and avoid awkward silences. Here’s an example during the rapport building phase of your conversation:

“How was your holiday- where did you go?” The Prospect answers “Italy, we…”

You: “Italy, very nice, I’ve been to Rome, the food’s amazing isn’t it…”

Or during the probing phase:

“So Mrs Prospect how have you previously made those kinds of decisions? …Is it this, or is it that?”

This is a very common vocabulary habit and it can cost us all kinds of opportunities:

We come across as if we’re not truly listening

It seems nervous and can be frustrating

We’ve just asked their opinion, so why are we giving an assumption/ our opinion?

We may get false information/ information which isn’t the Prospect’s true priority

And it’s really common in closing too:

“So, shall we get that set up for you? Or do you have any more questions?”

Talk about putting doubt in the buyer’s mind!

Asking questions is a great way to engage, we uncover all kinds of valuable information about the buyer’s preferences, their objectives and their opinion. We can then use that information to help them make a better buying decision. But we ruin all that hard work if we answer our own questions.

So we have to stop and let them answer, we have to pay them the courtesy of listening. It can be hard though. My friend who is also a supreme salesperson, Mark Brimson, has a fantastic way of ensuring he lets the buyer speak:

After asking an important question he takes a sip from his drink! He can’t speak if he’s got a mouth full of coffee and then buyer responds! They appreciate the fact that he gives them space to talk and make decisions. Try it out- after a while you might not even need to take a sip of your drink because you will enjoy the better engagement and rapport you experience with your clients and Prospects.

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