Have you ever walked into a store and before saying anything the owner walked out and said, “I don’t want to buy from you!” …Probably not. Great sales people realize that what they DO say loses the sale more than what they DON’T say. Each sentence – and even each word – is a […]
Have you ever walked into a store and before saying anything the owner walked out and said, “I don’t want to buy from you!” …Probably not. Great sales people realize that what they DO say loses the sale more than what they DON’T say. Each sentence – and even each word – is a risk that you are taking. You are risking the client’s reaction to your words. Inevitably what you say will either win the sale or lose the sale. Use words sparingly, carefully, and only when necessary. You might think,”The pricing is what will get the sale” or “My level of service will get the sale.” But how will the client know about the pricing or the service? The client will only know if you tell him or her. If you say it wrong, you will probably lose the sale. So in sales everything comes down to communication through words or actions. I have written and recorded many training resources concerning what you should say. In this article I want to give you several times when you should say nothing at all. Silence can be one of your greatest assets when you are prospecting for new business. Following is a list of when to be silent or use as few words as possible:
1. When you first walk in and ask for the owner. If you have an appointment and already know the owner’s name, just ask for that person and stop talking. You might say, “Hi, my name is James. I spoke to Laura on the phone yesterday; is Bob in right now?” Most sales people begin talking about what they are selling, who else uses their service, how their day is going, etc. This is a major turn off and makes you look nervous and sketchy. The automatic thought which goes through the secretary’s mind is, “This guy talks too much; he must be trying to sell Bob. I will protect Bob from this pushy sales person.”
2. When the owner is walking towards you, Wait. This is a tough one! Most reps can’t help but launch into their pitch when the owner is 20 feet away. Just smile and be confident. The most I ever say first is, “Hi, how are you doing today?” But I really prefer to have the owner start the conversation. When he or she starts the conversation, I know the owner is comfortable and ready to talk. This is especially true on a follow up visit. The other day on a follow up, the owner walks up to me (I didn’t say a word, just smiled.); he motions for me to follow him back to his office. He obviously needed to talk with his employees on the way back (I still say nothing!) When we get to his office, he motions to a chair where I sit down. He looks at me and says, “Ok, what have you got for me?” Now he is ready to hear my presentation, so I start talking. Many times an owner will walk all the way up to you and say, “Could you give me a minute?” If you start pitching before those words are said, it will frustrate the owner and cause him or her to blow you off because you are being inconsiderate of his or her time.
3. When the Prospect is thinking. I’m not sure where I read this, but I have found this statement to be true, “After you close, if you speak first you are not going to get the sale.” If you ask the merchant a question, wait for a response. Learn to be comfortable with silence. If I say, “So, what do you think Bob, any questions?” I have to wait for Bob to say something. Many times Bob will pick up the analysis and look at it carefully for a full two or three minutes while saying nothing. Most sales people can’t stand this silence; they have to jump in with some line that makes them look unprofessional, nervous and/or pushy. During moments of silence when I have been with agents, I have heard the agent say, “You’re probably looking at the contract term; let me explain that.” The merchant replied, “No, I wasn’t looking at that. What is the contract term?” …OOPS!!! Learn to love silence in your sales pitch. And if you ask a question or you can tell the merchant is thinking about asking you a question, stop talking to allow time for thinking.
4. When the merchant is talking. This last one should be obvious, but no one seems to follow the advice! If the merchant is talking, listen intently with your ears and with your eyes. If a current client or a prospect is describing a major concern important to the decision to go with you, ask permission to take notes. You could say, “I want to make sure I get this right. Do you mind if I take out a pen and take some notes?” They will love this! I hope this helps you get some sales this week!