The Power of Silence After Asking a Sales Question

January 10, 2014

One of the best ways to increase the likelihood of closing a sale is by asking better sales questions. The problem for many salespeople though is that they spend an enormous amount of time crafting those key questions to ask, only to not listen to the customer as they give their answer. Too many salespeople are moving on to the next question or busy interrupting the customer to hear the answer to those questions. What happens after the question is asked is more important than any other part of your presentation.

Jumping in Too Fast
The sales question is the best way that a salesperson can gather information as to the needs of the customer. When you have the perfect questions ready for your customer, the best way to get those answers is to simply wait. Too many business people simply ask the sales question, and then when a few seconds go by without a reply, the salesperson feels they have to begin talking again to break that short moment of silence. In most cases only 2 or 3 seconds elapses before the salesperson feels they have to begin talking again. The customer may have been deciding on their answer or simply thinking about the question at hand, and before they knew it the salesperson had begun talking about their business, the weather, or a completely different product or service. The opportunity to get a response or even a sale from that question just disappeared.

Giving the Customer Enough Time
When you ask a customer a key sales question and you do not give them the appropriate time to answer, all of your credibility is lost. The way you look to that client is just like every other impatient salesperson who is more interested in asking for the sale than learning about the needs of the buyer. Studies have shown that if you allow your customer from between 8-10 seconds to think about and respond to your question, you will have a better chance of getting the response you want. Interrupting the customer before 8 seconds has passed means you will never know what their reply would have been. The truth of the matter is that 10 seconds is an incredibly long period of time when standing in silence in front of a potential customer. Getting past those seconds however can change your sales ratio dramatically.

How to Patiently Wait for the Answer
The best way for you to close more deals is to find a way to get comfortable with that silence after you ask a question. Although it can be a little challenging to stand there in complete silence, there is a way you can make the time go quickly. Imagine in your head that the clock is ticking. One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi, until you get to ten. If your customer has not responded by the time that you get to the number ten, it is time to jump back in and change your initial question or ask a new one. By waiting that short period of time you will easily find out more about your customers objectives, challenges, and key triggers in their decision making process. This technique may seem uncomfortable at first, but when you see your sales increase you will become more at ease with this process.


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