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Bite Your Tongue
Guest articles > Bite Your Tongue
by: Kelley Robertson
Most people don’t realize how powerful a negotiating tool silence is. I discovered exactly how effective as I recently observed someone discussing a deal with a prospective customer this past week.
The customer started describing his situation and after a few moments he paused – briefly. It was an opportune time for the sales person to make a comment or talk about her product and service. However, she remained silent, sensing that the customer had more to say. Her intuition proved correct - a few seconds later he continued talking about his needs, and when he had finished discussing his point he paused. The sales person refrained from speaking and her customer began talking again.
During this last monologue the sales person learned the exact information that she needed to close the sale without resorting to discounting. If she had spoken during those moments of silence, she may still have closed the sale but not as effectively.
I remember watching my wife use silence as a customer several years ago in a retail store. She had brought a few items to the cash desk and when the sales associate rang them in my wife noticed a discrepancy in price. When she questioned this difference, the employee mentioned that the items in question were not available for the price my wife had thought. Instead of complaining or arguing my wife chose to remain silent. The sales associate immediately began talking to fill up the “dead air” space, and before long, had talked herself into giving my wife the discount she had hoped for.
The next time you meet with a client or customer – either face-to-face or over the telephone – bite your tongue. Resist the temptation to talk immediately after they have spoken. Instead, pause for a few moments. Because most people are uncomfortable with silence they will automatically say something. This is a very effective recruiting technique (called the pregnant pause) and it can be used in the sales process as well.
Here are a few other situations when biting your tongue will benefit you:
I remember reading the following advice from an author some years ago – spend one day every few months being as quiet as possible and responding only when it adds value to that particular conversation. This will be incredibly difficult for the majority of people but imagine how much you will hear and learn that day.
Most people who sell a product or service mistakenly think that they must do most of the talking. However, my experience has taught me that some of the best sales people are also the quietest. And it’s because they actually hear what their customer or prospect has to say. They learn what’s important to that person. They find out the motivating factors behind the purchase. They allow the other person to dominate the conversation. And let’s face it, the majority of people will always talk when given the opportunity.
© 2008 Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.
Kelley Robertson, author of The Secrets of Power Selling helps sales professionals and businesses discover new techniques to improve their sales and profits. Receive a FREE copy of 100 Ways to Increase Your Sales by subscribing to his free newsletter available at www.kelleyrobertson.com. Kelley conducts workshops and speaks regularly at sales meetings and conferences. For information on his programs contact him at 905-633-7750 or Kelley@RobertsonTrainingGroup.com
Contributor: Kelley Robertson
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