Tag Archives: Body language

In selling, sometimes the best thing to say is nothing . . . just listen, then work from what you hear

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.

Non-verbal communication tips

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.


More on non-verbal signals in the sales call

In a recent post, I mentioned an article from the British magazine New Scientist on non-verbals in the job interview situation (very analogous to the initial face-to-face sales call).

 Link to that article on New Scientist site.

We do get into non-verbals particularly in my book Sales Presentations & Demonstrations.

But if you really want to know more, check out the website  Simply Body Language.  Lot of good stuff for the sales person.  But also an array of funny videos and photos on when body language goes bad!