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The Art of Silence in Sales

Posted by Mark Trinkle on Thu, Apr 01, 2021

Most salespeople are afraid of silence because they perceive it to be awkward or a sign that the prospect has mentally checked out. But that's simply not the case! It is critical that you let silence do some of the heavy lifting during your prospecting conversations.

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Ah, the unmistakable sound of silence. Wait a minute…does silence make a sound? If you are a professional salesperson, you would say it absolutely does. Susan Scott, the author of the wonderful book, “Fierce Conversations”, offers up some great advice when she suggests, "To make your conversations more impactful, allow the silence to do the heavy lifting."

I think what Susan could have in mind are the hundreds of thousands of salespeople who treat silence like it is a bad virus; they instantly run away from it. But, what if silence was good within the context of having a powerful conversation? What if silence took you to a deeper level in a conversation with a prospect?

Most salespeople are afraid of silence because they perceive it to be a) awkward or b) a sign that the prospect has checked out on them. But, remember that you can speak much faster than people can listen, so sometimes they just need to be given time to allow their internal processor to catch up.

Here’s one more thing I have observed with salespeople- they ask a great question, the prospect goes radio silent, and then the salesperson ruins the moment by collapsing like a poorly dug prison tunnel.

Let the silence do the heavy lifting.

I know it will be a strange feeling at first, but sometimes strange is actually a good thing. Give your prospect some space to process the questions you ask them.

Now, go do some heavy lifting…actually, let the silence do the heavy lifting for you…and sell like a champion today.

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Topics: Meaningful Sales Conversations, prospecting skills, Qualifying leads, Qualifying skills, sales prospecting

The Solution vs. Budget Dilemma

Posted by Jack Kasel on Wed, Sep 25, 2019

There is an age-old debate about which came first, the chicken or the egg? 

While that debate may never be solved, there is one “which comes first” situation that shouldn’t be up for debate and that is, “See the solution first OR know the budget first?

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In our work helping client’s develop their sales talent, there are two topics that get avoided on a regular basis.  Plus, both are to the detriment of the salesperson.  Those two taboo topics are discussing the incumbent and discussing the budget.  We will address the incumbent discussion in a later blog.  For now, let's talk about the "dreaded" budget discussion.

When we refer to the “budget”, we are referring to it in three categories commonly known as
TMR—Time, Money, and Resources. It is our experience that the stronger sales professionals don’t shy away from that discussion.   They aren’t afraid to ask, “How much have you set aside to make this problem go away”?

They are successful because they follow these rules:

Rule #1Have the conversation.  The 800 lb budget gorilla is in the room, so talk about it.  If you have taken the OMG sales assessment, look at the section on “Ability to Discuss Money” to see if that is a weakness or strength.  If it’s a weakness, put a plan together to help overcome this obstacle.

Rule #2Provide context.  Regardless of the investment your prospect needs to make to fix their problem, it needs to be framed in the context of their pain and your ability to eliminate it.  If the pain is minimal, then your solution won’t seem that great.  We’ve had prospects tell us their problem is a “two comma” problem, meaning their cost of turnover was over $1 million dollars.  That’s context.  Know their cost before you proceed!

Rule #3Don’t show your solution until you know the budget.  It’s really that simple.  If you have ever provided a solution to a prospect only to hear them say, “that’s more than we intended to spend”, then you have an issue discussing the budget.  Does it make sense to know their appetite for change, including budget, before you provide your solution? Here is where the strong sales professional is different.  If the prospect doesn’t want to discuss budget, they know it can be for one of two reasons.  You haven’t uncovered enough pain or they simply want to use you as a pencil sharpener for the competition.  You don’t get paid to be a pencil sharpener so don’t become one.

In closing, don’t be afraid of the conversation.  In the history of sales, no one died from discussing budget, I doubt you will be the first.

 

Topics: Meaningful Sales Conversations, sales management, time, money, budget, solution, sales conversations

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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.

     

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