Last Updated on February 16, 2021
Did you know it takes just four seconds of silence before most people start squirming?
Count it out: 1, 2, 3, 4.
Silence may be golden in some circumstances, but it’s downright uncomfortable in others. And that’s precisely why it can be such an effective asset when cultivating a sale.
If you want to have deeper conversations, extract more information, and boost your close rate, it’s time to get close and personal with that awkward silence. It just might hold the key to your sales success.
Here’s why silence is effective and how to use it to your advantage.
Silence is an invitation to connect
Salespeople are in the business of building relationships and establishing trust. That requires imparting that you care about a prospects needs, goals, and ultimately their success.
So how do you achieve that? By listening.
Think back to the last time you had a really great conversation with someone. Who did most of the talking? Was it you? If so, how do you think the other person felt about your “conversation” when it was all over? Was it as great for them as it was for you?
Silence in a sales call is an invitation to the other person to speak. It’s a sign that you’re there to listen and solve, not just pitch.
They may take those opportunities, or not. Either way, you’ll only know if you stop talking long enough to listen. And when you do, you may just learn something that helps you solve a problem or close a deal.
Silence invites the prospect to re-engage
Distraction is a fact of life. Just like you, your prospect probably has a to-do list a mile long, as well all kinds off issues competing for their attention.
Even the most interested prospect will likely follow their wandering mind away from your conversation while you’re talking.
But in the silence to follow, you give them an opportunity to come back, re-engage, and reflect.
Silence extracts more information
How often are you in the middle of a conversation when both parties start talking at the same time.
“Sorry, go ahead,” you say. “No, no. You go ahead,” they reply.
Every time that happens there was more information on the way, had you just backed off for a split second.
Even more interesting is that these moments don’t even feature any awkward silence! Think about what happens when you intentionally hold off on a reply, even when your prospect had concluded their thought.
Often, the awkward silence will encourage them to keep going, providing more detail or information that you can work with.
Silence adds impact
The pressure to continue speaking and adding detail often results in ending a thought long after the maximum impact was achieved. In other words, we a hit a peak, and then take our pitch downhill.
Let the point hit home, or elicit a positive response (or a follow-up question) rather than continuing to speak.
Often, prospects remember or respond to the last thing that was said. When you talk through meaningful details and land somewhere else by the time you stop talking, you’re getting in the way of your own momentum.
Dorothy Boyd said it best in Jerry McGuire, “Shut up. Just shut up. You had me at hello.“
Silence is key when presenting your offer
Once you quote a price in your pitch, you should be quiet. This creates tension, and you want the prospect to be the first to break that tension. Allowing for silence here shows confidence. Continuing on conveys the opposite.
Don’t assume that if a prospect doesn’t immediately respond that they’re opposed. Give them a moment, resist the urge to oversell, or unnecessarily improve the terms, and let the silence work its magic.
Whether they take the deal, ask a question, or reply with a concern, the uncomfortable silence you endured will be worth it in the end.
Wrapping up why silence can help you make more sales
Too often salespeople get in their own way. And they often do it by simply opening up their mouth to speak. It’s natural. And it’s understandable. Silence feels awkward. But there are a lot of good reasons to encourage silence in and take comfort in it.
Here’s why silence can help you make more sales:
- It’s an invitation to connect
- It pulls a wandering mind back into the conversation
- It extracts additional information from your prospect
- It adds emphasis to important points
- It helps close deals