Recently, I have been discussing strategies for improving your sales negotiations. There are dozens of strategies, techniques and tactics that can influence your results, but I decided to focus on one aspect of negotiation that many people find challenging to effectively execute: silence.
Many salespeople (myself included) find dead air or silence during a sales conversation a difficult concept to manage. I know that I feel extremely uncomfortable when a period of silence engulfs a sales conversation. However, silence is a very powerful weapon when you are negotiating.
It takes discipline. It requires effort. And it takes concentration. Yet, when used properly, it can help you gain a good deal of leverage in a sales negotiation. Here’s how you can use silence to negotiate a better deal:
Many prospects and customers are also uncomfortable with silence. If you pause for three to five seconds before responding to a comment or statement a person has made, the person will often volunteer additional information that he or she would have otherwise kept to secret.
For example, several years ago my wife was speaking to someone who wanted to use one of my articles in a corporate newsletter. At one point during the telephone conversation, she sensed that he wanted to tell her something so she remained completely quiet. A moment later, he said, “But we only have a budget of $300…is that OK?”
At that time, I often allowed companies to reprint my articles at no charge, but the person my wife was talking to was used to paying for them. Her five seconds of silence helped generate a small sale.