Sales Tips: 3 Ways to Turn a Moment of Silence into a Sales Tactic

Silence is creeping in your sales meeting. Are they bored? Not convinced? Bluffing? What should you do? First of all, as one of the greatest guides in the galaxy says – don’t panic. You can actually use that moment of dead air to your benefit. Here’s how.

Considered uncomfortable by many in this roaring century, silence is actually versatile and can be used to one’s advantage. We’ve talked about how silence can boost conversations, and also how it can be used as a negotiation technique. It’s now time to take a look at how a moment of silence can be the perfect opportunity to close a deal.


1. Trigger it yourself

What can a moment of silence do for you in a sales meeting? A lot. It can help reveal deeper concerns of the prospective buyer, bring back attendees who drifted off, give enough time for everyone to take in the deal, and so on. In order to do all of this, however, it needs to be chosen wisely.

Picking the right moment to insert a short period of silence in the conversation depends on what you’re looking to achieve through it. If it’s right after receiving a question, you can pause to transmit that you’re entirely dedicated to giving the best answer possible. If it’s after receiving an answer, it shows that you’re actively processing the information you just got. Last, but not least, keeping quiet after your client told you what (s)he’s willing to offer can be the most fitting method to let them bask in the glory of their decision. (Or test whether the deal can be improved by inducing self-second-guessing.)


2. Guide through questions

Receiving no verbal feedback during a sales meeting does not necessarily mean that you’re not getting crucial information on how it is going. In fact, there is a lot to be learned by observing the non-verbal cues the other participants are sending. Facial expressions, gestures, posture – all of these constantly paint the picture of the other individuals’ state of mind.

Learning how to read nonverbal communication cues comes in handy in plenty of work interactions, so it’s definitely a useful skill to have. For example, it can give you an idea of how much time will the audience pay attention to you when pitching an idea. In the same manner, getting a live feed into your prospective clients’ mindset will inform you on how to guide them towards the end result that you desire. Whether they seem insecure about their decisions, or they come off as not convinced, you can direct them by using questions moulded around their state of mind.


3. Suggest next steps

If you’re absolutely certain about how the unfolding of events should look like, you might consider skipping the questions altogether, and propose the action plan directly. In order to do that, it’s crucial to have a receptive audience, so make sure your nonverbal communication interpreting skills are spot-on. Should you choose this course of action, it’s highly important to come off as confident, not arrogant.

What does this have to do with silence, you ask? Well, this moment of stillness can show you what your partners are thinking about the deal. If they seem puzzled, you could suggest extra training sessions for the product; if they don’t seem convinced, bring in the discounts and offers; should they look hurried, make an appointment for another meeting, to further discuss in detail. In a nutshell, look at this as the more assertive brother of the “asking questions” method. You understand why you should have a receptive audience, right? Only a few prefer being lead instead of leading.

No matter how bad a situation might seem, there is always something you can do to make it work in your favour. Sure, silence in a meeting can be the big bad wolf, but didn’t it help build the sturdiest house of them all?

Maria C., Comms. Officer

Written on Thursday, 28 Mar 2019



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