I know, it’s a catchy and kind of a trick title, isn’t it?
And when I ask audiences what they think it is, they guess things like:
“Asking for the sale!”
“When would the customer like delivery?”
“How many units do they want?”
Things like that. All these are good guesses – they are all closing questions and these are arguably the most important things to say, but the number one most important thing to say is…
That’s right, remaining silent after asking a qualifying question or using a tie down or a trial close, or – and this is especially difficult for most sales reps – when the prospect gives an objection (because a prospect will often explain his or her reasoning), and so remaining silent at these moments actually is your most powerful tool.
The reason for this is that your prospect or customer has all the answers as to why they’ll buy or not buy, as to what you need to say to steer them towards the close, and to what objections or obstacles you need to overcome – and how to overcome them.
The problem for 90%+ of sales people is that they want to talk instead of suffer through what they interpret as an uncomfortable silence. But it is just this silence that will always encourage your prospect to reveal more, and the more they reveal the more insight and leverage you’ll have to close the sale.
So how can you get good at not saying anything? Simple: use your mute button. For most reps, the mute button is something they seldom use (do you even know where yours is?), and if they do occasionally use it, it’s to put a prospect on hold to get some information or look something up.
But for top sales producers, the mute button is the most powerful button on the phone. Here’s how to use it:
#1: First of all, locate it, start practicing using it – you know, get comfortable with the time delay (if any) between when you turn it on and turn it off.
Reassure yourself that there is no ‘clicking’ noise and that it is absolutely seamless.
#2: Know when to use it.
This is simple, actually. Whenever you ask a question of a prospect, hit your mute button. DO NOT unmute yourself until your prospect is done with his/her thought and done speaking.
In fact, put a two to three second delay between when you think they are done and when you unmute. This is crucial…
Special Tip Here: Contrary to what you think, your prospect does not need to hear your ‘um’s’ and ‘uh’s’ to evidence you’re listening. The more absolute quiet there is, the more comfortable they’ll feel – and the more they will talk.
#3: Get in the habit of encouraging them to talk even more by unmuting yourself (after they are done) and asking, “Oh?” or “What else?” or “What do you mean exactly?”
Then mute yourself again and let them answer.
#4: Take notes while they talk.
Write down any words or phrases they say and make it a point to feed these back to them later in the conversation. This will show them you are actively listening, and they will be more receptive to common words and phrases they use often.
#5: The mute button is good for prospecting calls as well!
Don’t just use it during the close. In fact, your tip is that whenever your prospect is talking, you need to be on mute.
The treasure of information you’ll get by listening and not interrupting is beyond valuable. Not only will you get the exact reasons and motives needed to close the sale (or objections to avoid or overcome), but you’ll get something else just as valuable: You’ll gain trust and confidence.
Everyone loves to be heard; loves to be listened to. Most sales people are distrusted and disliked because they are pushy and make it seem as if it’s all about them. You can immediately reverse this by becoming a great listener.
Quick last story: Just the other day I was speaking with a new prospect and, employing the mute button, the call went for an hour and forty minutes. The prospect probably talked for an hour and fifteen minutes of that time.
When the call finally ended, he told me how much he enjoyed the conversation and how much he was looking forward to the next call. And all I did was ask pointed questions and then listened while on mute…
So there you have it: the most important thing to say in sales is…..nothing!
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