The Power of Silence in Sales

Joe Weinlick
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Even though sales professionals are constantly trying to refine their sales techniques, the power of silence is often overlooked. From the initial contact with the client to closing the sale, silence can be a powerful tool in your kit. Although it may feel counterintuitive, saying nothing just might be the best way to go.

A couple moments of silence during a sale may feel awkward at first. You may feel the need to fill any gaps with more words, more reasons to buy, and more questions. By constantly filling any gaps in the conversation, you may be missing important information or questions that your client is having trouble verbalizing. Using silence as one of your sales techniques will make you better able to meet your clients' needs by giving them more opportunities to inform you. Over time, and with experience, you will be able to determine the most opportune times to employ the silent treatment.

There are a few key moments during the sales process where silence is most effective. After you have asked a question, remain silent for a couple of moments to give the prospective buyer a chance to answer. Even after your client has answered, silence can prompt him or her to further elaborate on what has been said. Try not to answer your own questions because this may make customers feel as though you are talking over them. If a client offers an objection, wait before responding. Often, this will prompt your prospective buyer to elaborate on any concerns. When you are negotiating a deal with a prospective client, a moment of silence before you respond to a request for a lowered price or discount can actually cause the client to withdraw or change the request to something more in your favor. Fitting silence into your repertoire of sales techniques could give you the negotiating edge you need. 

Some sales professionals struggle with closing sales and may even end up talking themselves out of them. Silence can be one of the most powerful sales techniques in these situations. As the old adage goes, learn to take yes for an answer. If you find yourself constantly talking after asking for a commitment, you may be preventing your client from saying yes. Never be the first one to speak after asking your client to commit—even if the pause is uncomfortably long. Wait for your client to respond. At best, you will make the sale, and at worst, you will know where you stand. 

The power of silence is one of the most often overlooked sales techniques available to you. While silence is not appropriate for every situation, careful use of this sales technique will help you to better fulfill your clients' needs.



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