Silence can be deafening, can’t it?
The telephone is an audio medium. It relies on the sounds you make with your words and with the tone of your voice to persuade the client.
However, just as powerful are the sounds you DON”T make.
Used wisely and strategically, the pause – and the moment of silence it creates- can be used to your advantage when tele selling.
The Power of the Pause
The silent pause in tele-selling has far more impact than the pause in field selling. Because telephone selling is a non face-to-face medium and relies on audible clues, the pause gets greater attention because it creates a gap in the flow of a conversation. (Think of listening to the radio in your car. You’re driving down the highway and suddenly the chatter stops for a moment or two. Immediately you notice it.) Same thing in tele-sales.
7 Silent Applications
The silent pause draws attention and focus. Use it with deliberate thought in these seven areas of your call.
1. After you use the client’s name. There is nothing sweeter than the sound of our names and when a client hears his or her name, he tends to listen closely to the next 15-20 words. It’s a habit that has been honed into us from birth. By pausing a second or so after using the person’s name you double the impact and benefit of the silence you created. Clients focus and listen carefully. This approach is particularly effective with opening statements.
2. After you ask a question. When you ask a question let the client respond. Sales trainers have taught this for ages but it particularly significant in tele-sales. Silence on the telephone is perceived as three to six times longer than it is compared to field sales. It creates a gap that can feel awkward and uncomfortable for the client – AND for you. The tendency is for either you or the client to fill that gap. You need to discipline yourself and keep ‘mum’ and you need the patience to let the customer fill the void.
3. After a trial close. Because you cannot see the client’s expression, you need to compensate by asking trial closes like, “Does that make sense?’ or “Are you following?” Then pause to allow the question to sink in and to let the client respond. Let the silence do its magic and listen closely to hear the tone of the client’s response. If it is hesitant and unsure, stop and go back by saying, “Jeannie, I hear some hesitancy there.”
4. After you hear an objection. Use the pause after the client tosses out an objection. By remaining silent for a second or two a couple of things are achieved. First, it gives you time to process the objection and develop an appropriate response strategy. Secondly, it suggests to the client that you are giving the objection fair analysis. They like that; makes them feel important while at the same time, it positions you as thoughtful and respectful; not slick and off the cuff.
5. After handling the objection. Similarly, briefly use silence after you answer an objection. If you respond to a price or product objection, conclude by asking, “Does that answer your question?” Pause. Wait for the response. Listen to the tone. Evaluate it. Respond accordingly.
6. After you make a key point. It is wise to use the pause after you mention a key feature or aspect of your product. This allows that feature, fact, or offer to sink in. This creates a sense of significance. It’s kind of like verbal underlining. The pause will often get the client to comment further and reveal buying signals.
7. After you close. As a salesperson, you should know that the pause – the silence – after a close or an advance is powerful. The gap gives the client time to evaluate all that she has heard but the ensuing silence also creates that all-important tension whereby the client wants to ‘fill the gap.’ Let it work for you. File your nails or doodle but wait it out.
Silence – through the use of the pause – is the secret sauce of tele-selling, no question about it. It is a technique or tool that you can use deliberately to create an effect. It gets your client to listen, to open up, to respond, and to learn. Use it liberally on all your tele-sales calls.