Sales tip: silence is one of the essential communication skills . . . and a powerful selling skill, as well.
When you're in the 1-1 selling face-to-face mode, non-verbals can be just as significant—and telling–as words.
Think of the questions you ask in a sales call as seeds. It's crucial to give the questions time to grow, and the power of silence gives that time. After you ask, be silent, even if it means letting the silence hang in the air. That gives the prospect time to think and respond.
Ask a question, then let it "grow" in the silence and listen closely to the response. In some cases, you'll need to rephrase the question so it's clearer, or to focus the Decision Maker's response so it's more on target.
But those are exceptions. As a rule, once you've asked the question, bite your tongue and let the prospect talk. Listening well is at least as important a communication skill as speaking confidently.
There are other good reasons to ask fewer questions and allow more silence: constant interruptions to ask new questions may irritate the prospect.
Besides, if you let the prospect go at her own pace, and in the general direction she thinks best, you may find other potential needs opening up in ways that you wouldn't have anticipated.
Above all, don't be so busy asking questions (and thinking of what your next questions will be) that you neglect to listen to the answers you do get. That's another benefit of the power of silence: silence gives you time not just to listen, but also time to think ahead.
If you're thinking of going into sales, if you're already in sales, if you don't know what you want to be when you grow up (no matter your present age!) there's a top-rank article you need to read in the magazine FAST COMPANY.
It's "Why smart people should go into sales," by Andrew Yong, and among his accomplishments include authorship of the book, SMART PEOPLE SHOULD BUILD THINGS.
I'll leave the article to you, but add that "selling" is not just selling products or services, but it's also persuading, reading body language and other buying signals, pulling out objections and hesitations, presenting concepts, learning to find and fill needs (needs that often the other person isn't really aware of, so part of "selling" is showing the need and how you can best fill it). All of these abilities pay off many times over if you move from sales per-se to management, customer service — even to setting up your own business and marketing your skills, perhaps as part of career reinvention, or electing for self-employment as your new career option.
Link to article in Fast Company
There seems to be particular interest in the topic of using and reading body language –non-verbal communications — so here's more.
In the Harvard Business School HBR Blog Network, Prof. Amy Cuddy (of HBR) wrote a blog item entitled Want to Lean In? Try a Power Pose – Amy J.C. Cuddy – Harvard Business Review, which relates to her TED talk, the link to which she cites in the article. That runs about a half-hour, as I recall, and the title and link is Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are
NOTE: I started this post intending it for my blog SellingFaceToFace.com (Link here ) but realize it's equally relevant to another of my blogs, CareerSuccessHow-to.com ( Link here ) so will be dual posting in both places.
Now that I think of it, I'll probably be doing more dual posting on topics like this, such as using and reading body language, as career success how-to and the skills relating to selling and selling face to face are often very much intertwined.
As factors in your career success, it's not just how competent you are, and it's not just about the words you say: no less important are the non-verbal messages you send . . . and read in others. I cover some of this in my books, but let me recommend "How 'Power Poses' Can Help Your Career"– an excellent article with accompanying video from the Wall Street Journal.
The article is not–as you might suspect–about being a phony poseur, but rather about how to pay attention to the body-language and other non-verbal messages you are sending . . . and receiving.
Continue reading “How ‘Power Poses’ Can Help Your Career”–career tips from the Wall Street Journal