The Best Strategy for Winning the Deal – Bite Your Tongue

Have you ever been in a situation where you had so much to say that you couldn’t wait to get it out of your mouth and in effect, take your opponent down? Someone recently observed a discussion where there was a deal being negotiated with a prospective customer. 

The customer started describing his situation and after a few moments he paused.  It seemed to be the opportune time for the salesperson to jump in and make a comment and talk about her product and service.  However, she remained silent, sensing that the customer had a lot more to say.  Her intuition proved correct, because a few seconds later the customer continued talking about his needs.

It was only after he finished making his point that he once again paused. 

The salesperson refrained from speaking once again and her customer also began talking once again. Near the end, the salesperson learned the exact information she needed to close the sale without resorting to discounting the price of what she had to offer.

If she had spoken during those moments of silence, she may still have closed the sale, but not as effectively and probably only after giving a discount.

The moral?

Keep quite and as much as possible let the other person do all the talking.

Someone else observed their wife using silence with a customer some years ago in a retail store. 

The wife had brought a few items to the cash desk and when the sale assistant rang them up on the register, she noticed a discrepancy in the price.  When she questioned the difference the employee mentioned that the items in question weren’t available for the price the wife thought they were offered for.  Instead of exploding or arguing, the wife chose to remain silent. 

The salesperson immediately began talking to fill up the “dead air” space and it wasn’t long after that the employee had talked herself into giving the wife the discount she had hoped for.

The lesson to be learned is that the next time you meet with a client or customer, either face to face or over the telephone, try and hold your peace.

Keep quiet.

Bite your tongue. 

Resist the temptation to talk on and on, or immediately after they have spoken. 

Pause for a few moments.  People become uncomfortable with silence so they will automatically say something. 

This strategy of keeping quiet is called the “pregnant pause”.  It’s a very effective technique which can be used to achieve sales or to recruit staff etc. 

Here are a few more situations when holding your peace and biting your tongue will definitely benefit you:

  1. After you ask a question: 
    Most salespeople will answer their own question instead of holding back and allowing you to talk.  Always let customers tell you what’s on their mind and encourage them to give you more information.  If you refrain from talking after asking someone a question, this becomes really easy. A customer will often tell a business owner what they want and this is often less than what the business owner had intended to give them simply because the owner kept their peace.

  2. Whenever you ask for the sale:
    When you ask someone to make a financial commitment, such as buying something, make sure you give them time to think about the decision and to respond.  Too many salespeople talk themselves out of the sale by continuing to speak afterwards. They even tell their customers that they will give them time to make a decision even though the customer has already told them they want to buy.
  1. When you are not sure what to say:
    From time to time, people find themselves unsure of what to say after a comment has been made by a customer.  When this happens, the best approach is to remain silent.  This often takes a lot of patience and self-control, but its best to do it. What happens is, the other person will fill up the dead air space and give you information you would not have learned otherwise.

  2. When confronting employees:
    Employers often have disgruntled employees.  Employers need to give them time to express their opinions.  If this is done, the employer will often discover that the staff member only wanted the opportunity to vent their frustration.

  3. When people show disappointment:
    In a situation where a conflict arises, the natural tendency for people is to explain why something went wrong or to immediately offer a solution.  However, allowing people the opportunity to speak may give you the chance to offer another solution.

Here is some good advice from a wise person some time ago: “Spend one day every few months being as quiet as possible and responding only when it adds value to the conversation.” 

This can be very difficult for the majority of people, but just imagine how much one can hear and learn in that day by just being quiet.  Too often people who sell a product or service mistakenly think that they have to do all the talking.  Good salespeople learn from experience that some of the best sales results have come about when they have been silent.

One of the reasons is because they can actually hear what the customer or prospect has to say.  They learn what is important to that person.  They find out the motivating factors behind that person’s purchase decision.  They allow the other person to dominate the conversation and this makes them feel good.

Most people will take the opportunity to talk if it is given half a chance.  

What’s the lesson?
The lesson from it all is this.

Where a discussion or a deal is underway, try and let the other party do most of the talking while you do most of the listening. It’s amazing what you will learn about them, their business, their product or their services, by simply giving them the time to “let it all out”. Let the other guy do all the talking. It pays dividends.


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