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.