Sometimes when you think you hear silence, what you really hear is the glorious sound of someone thinking. Try embracing the silence instead of panicking.
Unfortunately, most salespeople can’t. We have the uncontrollable need to fill it in. We repeat ourselves, rephrase what we just said, or to try to fix something that isn’t broken. Filling the silence could cost you. You may be missing valuable information, or worse. Sales reps that panic tend to either start dropping the price or answering possible unspoken objections. Sometimes they talk themselves right out a sale they could have had.
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If you are talking while they are thinking, you are interrupting them, so before you speak, give them 3 or 4 seconds to figure out what they want to say. If they still don’t say anything, it is your job to understand why.
Silence can indicate a few different things:
1. Thinking – need time to think, come up with questions or decide
2. Distracted – not paying attention, my mind is on something else
3. Processing – trying to make sense of what you just said
4. Irritated or Angry – too upset to speak
Most of the time, customers are just thinking. Don’t interrupt them. If your customer thinks your question is important enough to think about and is willing to give you information, embrace the silence. Give them 3 or 4 seconds to figure out what they want to say. If they still don’t say anything, it is your job to understand why. Simply ask something like, “Do you need some clarification?”
With that, they are likely to tell you exactly what you need to know. All you have to do is listen.
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