Awkward Silence is a sales person’s best friend.
I believe you can’t reach your full potential as a sales rep until you can master the art of being comfortable with silence. There are so many times this has helped me in business, and actually in my personal life too. Most people are not comfortable with silence and as a sales rep there are a couple of specific times where being comfortable with silence is a huge benefit.
Asking For The Order – At some point in any sales cycle, the sales rep has to “ask for the order” and when you catch the prospect off guard there could be some awkward silence. Although most sales rep will jump in to fill the air, that’s a perfect time to just let the awkwardness linger. The prospect is also feeling the awkwardness and let them be the first one to speak. Typically the next statement out of their mouth is very important as to your next step.
Asking Who’s the Decision Maker – To be a successful salesperson you have to sell to the right people. And when I say right, I mean people that have the authority to make the purchase. Weak sales people will avoid this question and sometimes find themselves at the end of the sale process and realize the person they’ve been dealing with has no authority. At that point you lose all power in a transaction. A good sales rep will try to get this question answered early in the process to make sure the authority person is in the discussions when necessary. The awkward moment usually comes when you ask “who has the authority to make purchasing decisions within your company?”. As a sales rep the natural reaction might be to jump in and move on to the next question, but a true rep will stick with the awkward silence and let the prospect answer so you know how to proceed.
The art of handling “Awkward Silence” may not come natural but in my experience it’s a skill worth mastering…