It was a dingy little gray office in a rural part of Appalachia. The owner of the fuel oil company looked at my proposal. And looked at it. And looked at it some more. I was living in North Carolina selling long distance in my mid-twenties and this old man who was more than twice my age scared me with his poignant silence.
I made a common mistake that most junior sales people make. I didnít shut my trap once I gave him the proposal. I was so nervous that the only thing which quelled my anxiety was the sound of my own voice which kept droning on and on and on like an annoying empty gong. It was almost as if the silence begged to be broken by my voice and I couldnít help myself. "And look how much we can save you on that 800 line," I said. No answer. Long pause. "And the calling cards, too. Itís all there. Look at that, sir. See? See? Thatís big savings." No answer. Long pause. "Look at that. And the extra lines get the discount also. Thatís even more savings, sir." Long pause. Long pause. Long pause. More nervousness. "Did I tell you that our company was founded in . . ."
All of a sudden this quiet man finally said something, and itís something that Iíll never forget. "Boy," he said in a thick mountainy drawl, interrupting me right smack in the middle of my enthusiastic babbling. "I done bought from ya ten minutes Ďgo. But ya just tawked yersef outta it. You kin go now."
He bought from me ten minutes ago. I talked myself out of it. I could go now. But . . . itís not . . . fair, I thought to myself. No, it wasnít fair, but it was a great lesson on the power of silence. Sometimes silence can be a powerful force, powerful enough to close the deal for you. Powerful enough to even tear it apart after it already closed.
When you are on your next sales call or face-to-face prospective client visit, pay attention to how silence is used in the meeting:
During your next meeting with a prospect, pay attention to how this tool of silence can be used, and how effective it is in your ability to influence others. And, if anything, at least itíll keep you from babbling your way out of a closed sale.
- Scott Love
Scott Love gives recruiters a step by step system that anyone can learn. If others can be successful in this business, so can you. As a consultant and trainer to the industry, Scott has helped organizations get better margins by improving their operational performance and client development strategies, and has helped recruiters to master the business and get better production with more peace of mind. Over 2,500 search firms and staffing agencies in sixteen countries have invested in their own performance improvement through his educational tools, seminars, consulting services, and training programs.
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Copyright © 2009 Scott Love