Speech is Silver but Silence is Golden

halifax consulting Published by Halifax Consulting – 21 March 2024

The 10 Silence golden moments to stop messing up with the sales! – By Vincent Parachini & François-Xavier Théry

We were amazed by the reception of Francois-Xavier’s article about silence. To us, silence is part of the play. Speech and silence are part of the same rhetoric toolbox we, at Halifax Consulting, teach our trainees. But your feedback made us think that we may be overstepping a little bit and some clarity about the key, most impactful, Silence moments, a salesperson can use to boost message impact, should probably not be unnecessary.

We, salespersons, literally puts our personal aura and credibility at the service of our company. The trustful bond we generate with customers is the link by which trust from the customer expands to our organization as a whole. And yet, too many time, we weaken that link by saying too much to the customer.

So when to speak and when to shut up?

Truth is silence is presence. So here are 10 golden moments where silence will help you stop messing with the sales!

1. Capture the attention with your silence.

Silence serves as a potent instrument for capturing the client’s speech. By allowing moments of silence at the beginning of the conversation, standing still, available, salespersons starts to own the space. When in person, it is even more powerful than virtually. Your calm physical presence inspires respect and authority. Allow for a few seconds of silence when everybody is expecting you to start your pitch to fill the void with your presence.

2. Allow moments of silences in your discovery to access greater customer insights.

Posing an open-ended question and then remaining silent allows the client to delve deeper into their thoughts and feelings. This technique fosters a more profound understanding of the client’s motivations, challenges, and aspirations, enabling salespersons to tailor their solutions effectively. By forcing you to remain silent when the customer answers your questions you show respect and interest to the customer’s story. But this is another powerful trick: when the customer concludes his answer to your question, remain in silence for an additional 3 to 5 seconds. Sometimes, quite frequently really, this pause helps him making another connection. He then feeds you with additional insights, no one has ever gotten out of him, simply because no one ever really care to listen…

3. Make your emotions resonate through silence

Silence can be a powerful way to anchor emotions during sales interactions. Pausing after expressing an emotion (“I feel really worried about that”) or playing an emotion (Taking a deep and long breath full of concerns) allows the message to resonate with the client, creating a moment of connection on a deeper level. When tension increases or when exchanges become too harsh, breaking a silence can invite your customer to regain his/her center and cool things down.

4. Generate appropriation of your arguments through silence

By strategically incorporating moments of silence into discussions, salespersons give clients space to internalize arguments and project themselves into the proposed solutions or the questions discussed. This reflective pause encourages clients to envision how the offering aligns with their needs and goals and establish new connections between the conversation you are having and other topics.

5. Amplify your messages with silence

What is your main message? You have it? Well say it and then pause, using silence as an oratory tool enhances the impact of key messages. Pausing before or after delivering crucial points creates emphasis and allows the message to sink in, amplifying its significance in the client’s mind. This pause creates disruptions and renews attention. Remember please do not buy your products they buy the way YOU make them feel about the product!

6. Listen to your customer’s silence and probe them

Respect your customer’s silence! And then question them. “Paul, I hear your silence on this. And it makes me wonder: Are we really treating the heart of the issue, here?” By allowing space for silence in conversations, you convey respect for the client’s autonomy and freedom of expression. This gesture fosters a sense of openness and trust, encouraging clients to share their thoughts candidly and engage more deeply in the sales process.

7. Build up your authority in negotiations through silence

You know the drill. They want your product but at a different condition so they pull you in a negotiation. At one moment, after many exhibitions of threats and display of power, starts the give and take. Since it is no longer about what they want and how they want it, it can take some time to get the necessary preliminary agreements. This can drain your energy, this is when they get into your head and you can fumble. Use silence. Hit the pause button. Silence can be wielded as a tool of authority during negotiations by controlling the flow of conversation. By strategically employing pauses, you assert control over discussions, prompting clients to fill the void with valuable information or concessions. Remember that speaking is a proof of the anxiety in negotiation. Generally the more you speak the more you show your need to close the deal. Leaving space of silence allows to measure their need to close.

8. Value your concessions with silence

In negotiation scenarios, silence can be leveraged to value concessions made by either party. So take your time. Value with your silence which means consideration the effort made by the other party, or value their request the same way. Anyhow, pausing after a concession signals its importance and allows both sides to acknowledge and appreciate the compromise reached. In that case silence can be supported by nodding or expressing surprise to increase the weight of the act.

9. Acceptable deals vanish without silence

You are almost there. You already agreed most of the deal. Alias, to the mandate your received from your boss, what is on the table is already beyond acceptable. You are tired. You want to close and finish this. So you start talking… And bing! You throw another concessions and the customer is happy to see you still have flesh to raw over the bone. Stop! When the deal is acceptable, play a long silence. It forces the customer to request something else which empowers you. It is easier to say No to a request to ask for a concession in return!

10. Create a sensation of comfort and freedom with silence

By allowing space for silence in conversations, salespersons convey respect for the client’s autonomy and freedom of expression. This gesture fosters a sense of openness and trust, encouraging clients to share their thoughts candidly and engage more deeply in the sales process.

Have good and fruitful silences!!!!

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