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Sales Consulting and Training:

What To Do Once You’ve Asked “THE” Question

When You’ve Asked for the Sale

How many times have you seen this happen?

Sales Rep: “…and we can have them delivered to you by the end of next week, just in time to have your facilities department install them in the new building.  Did you want me to go ahead and draw up an order for 100 cubicles?”

Customer: (silence…)

Customer: (silence…)

Customer: (more silence)

Sales Rep: “…uhm, or we could start with 25 if the price is too high.”

Oops! What a big blunder.  The sales rep was on the right track. After summarizing his discussion with the client, he adeptly used the trial close. Yet, the sales rep couldn’t stand the silence. It was deafening and he could hear the sound of his watch tick-tick-ticking. After just a few short seconds of silence, he caved and dropped the size of the order and gave the client the impression that the price was negotiable. Big mistake! 

This is far too common. People hate the void created the only response they receive to a question is stone cold silence. They find it deafening and they get nervous. The immediately make killer assumptions… “The client isn’t happy. She wants a price break. I’m totally off.” Those killer assumptions can cause a sales rep to leave money on the table when a client may simply be thinking of how to proceed.

When you are in a sales situation and you ask for the sale, the first thing you need to do is to keep your mouth closed. Don’t try to fill the void. As is often stated, the first one to talk loses. In negotiations, when this happens, generally the one who breaks the silence first is the one who gives a concession. Some customers or seasoned negotiators use silence as a tactic because they know that many people will simply crack as their mind rushes to create all sorts of assumptions. 

Most prospects who fail to answer immediately are usually thinking out what you have asked them. Am I ready to sign an agreement? Is this exactly what we need? Shall we move forward?  Give them time to answer your question. They will either say yes or provide you with an objection. If you are faced with an objection, you still have an opportunity to move the client to a close. At least you’ll have a better idea of what it takes to move the customer towards the actual sale. 

Remember, after asking the question, hold your ground and wait for an answer.  Don’t give the prospect an easy way based on what you think they’re thinking.  Let them answer the question so that you know where you stand.

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