Knowing When to Talk – And When to Shut Up – In Sales
Welcome to another blog. How has your week been? If you’ve had a good time professionally, I hope you’re able to carry that positivity into the coming weekend where you can recharge with friends, family, sport and hobbies.
As you’ll probably know by now, I’m a “glass half full” kind of guy, but even I sometimes need to consciously manage my thoughts and emotions about negative work experiences to make sure they don’t impact on me, or those around me. This sort of “emotional filing” is good to do because it helps you to keep perspective about things, and it stops you from entering a “negative thing happened – feel negative – negativity means another negative thing happens – repeat” cycle!
One great way to help focus on the positive is to make sure you spend plenty of time around positive people. This week I had the pleasure of spending a whole week in my wife’s company!!
One whole week!
That may sound very normal for many but as I spend a lot of time traveling, it is a novelty for me to spend so much time with her! We celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary this week and so it was nice to come away and enjoy quality time with the lady who is my rock and best friend! How she has survived 10 years of marriage to me I don’t know! 😊 😊
More than Words
Have you noticed that when you speak to positive, interesting and inspiring people they listen just as much, if not more than they talk? The cliche line “you’re such a good listener” doesn’t only apply in the dating and relationships world – the best salespeople realise they have two ears and one mouth and usually try and use them in that ratio!
So if you want to improve your sales game, when should you talk and when should you shut up? This was a brilliant question that was asked by one of my subscribers to the Saturday Sales Email (link here), and here’s some of what I discussed in the last email about this key weapon in the sales arsenal that’s very underused!
Remember, knowing and understanding your prospect is the key to winning more sales than the competition. And the best way of learning about someone and what they want is – of course – to open your mouth and ask lots of questions.
But also remember, the reason we want to understand our prospect is to really get to the bottom of the problems they have and how we can provide the solutions to them. We need to be able to show that we have something of real value to them.
And although the way we do that is by asking questions (particularly questions that can get them to reveal how they feel about where they are and where they want to be) there are definitely key times when we’re closing that we need to stop talking.
Oh, Shut your Mouth
So, here are a few very specific situations where you will say it best by saying nothing at all.
When You Have Asked a Question
This seems obvious, but you’ll be surprised by how often we all break this golden rule. The first key to getting this right is knowing exactly the question you are going to ask. Be concise, and be precise, and ask. Then, shut up.
Ask a question such as: ‘How will you solve this issue you just described in the coming months?’ and then let them answer.
It’s very tempting to ask a follow-up, or even to add a supplementary question in there – particularly if the prospect goes quiet for a moment. Remember, great salespeople aren’t afraid of silence – in fact, it can be one of the most potent ways to close a deal when used wisely!
When You Are Given An Objection
Wait a minute? Don’t answer objections? Well, no, that’s not what I mean! However, many people get a little panicked when they get an objection, and the temptation is to try and handle it quickly. This is particularly the case if you’re down the line in the sales cycle and you know the prospect well.
Rather than coming straight back at them, try a simple pause. Give yourself a few seconds (it will feel a lot longer the first time you try this, but don’t rush it!), think, stay calm. Doing this might use the power of a silent close but in reverse – they might chip in and answer their own objection for you!
When You Tell Someone the Price
Now this is a really common one! Most salespeople are most concerned about handling price objections. This means that when they come to the crunch moment of revealing the cost of their service they will already be nervous and will tend to rabbit on to cover this.
This is a mistake!
Price is always going to come up at some point. Hopefully, you have steered the meeting to a point where it’s the right time to bring it up. Regardless, tell your prospect the cost and then stop talking.
So many times I have heard salespeople say the price for what they’re offering and then within a nanosecond add “of course, if this is too high there are things we can do…” and so on before the poor old prospect has had a chance to even digest it.
If you’ve spent time building up the value of what you have to offer, don’t demolish it instantly by putting a price reduction on the table!
If you agree and think there is power in learning how to shut up, have a look at my latest video –
The Sound of Silence
There are plenty of other times when silence is appropriate, but the ones we’ve mentioned up there are the really key times when you need to bite your tongue.
Many people associate silence with weakness, but if you shift your mindset a little and realise that silence is a show of strength, competence and self-belief you can make a real difference to your closing and objection handling.
So, whatever kind of week you’ve had I hope you’ve been able to take some inspiration from today’s blog. Do you have any examples where silence has been a key part of winning some business? Do you find silence uncomfortable? I’d love to hear about your experiences and any questions you have about this.
Remember, you can get in touch with me by email via email@example.com or through any of the social networks: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube – just search for ‘jameswhitesales’.
Don’t forget to let me know if there are any specific topics you’d like me to cover in the blog, the Saturday Sales mails or on the YouTube channel, too.