To pause or not to pause?
Mastering the art of pausing can be a powerful tool in the sales process. There is however, a time to pause, and a time not to pause.
A time to pause
The pause can be used most effectively by a sales person after they ask a client a question. Obviously, the idea behind asking any question is that you are hoping to get an answer. Sales people, at times, have been guilty of asking a question and then answering it for the client. For example, they may ask, “How are you feeling about your retirement plan (ever-so-slight a pause) because if you think it could be better we have a great new product … it’s called the ….blah blah blah”.
Sometimes this happens very deliberately where the sales person doesn’t really want to hear the answer to their question, and sometimes it happens because the sales person simply doesn’t pause long enough after asking the question to let the client answer. Remember, the sales person may have asked that same question every day for the last year and also knows they will likely get a fairly typical response. The client, on the other hand, has never heard the question before and may need a few seconds to think before responding.
Point: ask a question and then pause to let the client answer
Another place the pause is effective in the sales process is after a client finishes telling you something. Just before you reply to the client take a second or two to pause. The purpose behind this is to make sure the client is actually finished. They may just be regrouping their thoughts and getting ready to tell you something you really want to know – something that will help you make the sale. The side benefit of pausing before you speak is that you will give the client the impression you are really listening (you should be, you asked the question) and that you are very thoughtful and purposeful about your responses. Always a good thing in sales.
Point: when a client seems finished talking pause a second or two before you start to speak
When NOT to pause
Pausing at the wrong time in a sale can create for some unwelcome results. The time when pausing can cause the most trouble is after you present the price of your product. Never leave pricing hanging because people will focus on it. Explain the features of the product, the benefits and then tell them the price and continue on with a couple of additional points. You can also present the price and ask a “Confirmation Question”. Check in with them on whether they feel the feature you just presented is going to work for them or not.
Pausing after completing a product presentation is unfortunately a very common thing for many sales people to do. Without a plan on how to wrap the sale up, most simply run out of things to say so they stop talking hoping the client will jump in and say that they will take it. Unfortunately, this can be the moment the client has been waiting for and they seize the opportunity to leave. After presenting the product and price ask the client if they think what you just shared with them would help solve the problem you mutually identified in the interview. If they say yes, ask them to buy it. Pausing will only invite an objection.
Point: seemlessly transition from your product presentation to asking for the sale without pausing
Think about when you pause, and when you do not. Pausing at the right time in your interview can help you get additional information from your client that you might not normally have received, and help you come across more as being a good listener. Not pausing during the close can increase your odds of having the client say yes and decrease the odds of getting an objection.
“Opportunity follows struggles. It follows effort. It follows hard work.
It doesn’t come before.”
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Copyright © 2008 by Fusion Performance Group Inc.
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