Have you ever experienced a situation like this? There you are sitting across the table from a prospect who you have been working with for several meetings now. All the signs seem to be there that this will be a done deal and all you have to do is ask for the business. However, since you haven’t been to this stage too often you are nervous. The last thing you need is for her to say no at this point and shatter your little heart. Your palms are really sweaty, your stomach is in knots and your nerves are on high. You find yourself quickly saying the words, “So Barbara, now that you have seen everything, and expressed that this will be a great fit, what would you like to do next?”
Silence………it seems like it’s been an hour, but it’s only been 2 seconds. Since you are so nervous, and think that silence means that they are not convinced, you start talking and things goes terribly wrong. You end up talking too much and the next thing you know the prospect is escorting you out of her office. But where did it go wrong? You didn’t know how to remain silent.
In this episode I share some of the things you can do to over come this challenge and how you can learn to be silent.
Here are some of the major takeaways from the discussion:
Speaking too much at the close may cause you to introduce new topics that can ruin the opportunity.
When you speak too much, you may cause the prospect to think that you have a something to hide and cause the prospects to hold back from making a decision to move forward.
If you speak too much, you can annoy the prospect and talk them out of the business opportunity.
Silence shows that you are confident in yourself and have ability to deliver value to the prospect.
Silence gives the prospect time to think and organize their thoughts.
Activity to practice so that you can improve your ability to embrace that awkward silence:
Role play by asking for the business from a prospect. Invite a family member or friend to be the prospect. Tell them that you want to practice asking for the sale from a prospect and that you are having challenges with awkward silence. Explain that you will ask for the sale, but that they should take their time answering. Don’t tell them how long to wait to say something, let it be a surprise. This practice, although simple, will help you embrace the awkward situation.
Whenever you ask someone a questions, ANY QUESTION, don’t interrupt them. Let there be silent, even if it’s awkward. Wait for them to answer. It’s fun will will definitely help.
Ask a random stranger a thought provoking question, something like “What is the meaning of life?” or “What is the definition of success?”. This could be someone you meet on the train, on the subway, in line at the grocery store. Follow the same idea as above and don’t say anything! Whatever questions you ask, make sure that it is clear and concise.
If you do any of the following practices, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about your experience.