Posts Tagged ‘Listening-Skills’

The Power of Silence!

January 11, 2012 4 comments

Having been a teacher, trainer, manager and parent for most of my adult life I have always talked a lot!

Now Social Media has aggravated the issue – when my mouth is shut my fingers continue the chatter – making comments on friends’ Updates or posting my own. It is comical at times, me seated in front of the computer, fingers poised on the keyboard, itching to the punch in another set of words in response to a comment.

My whole being cries -“Please remain silent for a while!”. Usually the fingers win the battle.

Just yesterday a friend on Facebook posted a link that took me to “The Quiet Place” – this site asked me to remain silent for 2 minutes … Yes, just 2 minutes! Soft music played in the background while they showed  a few quotes and then there was a 30 seconds countdown. I was expected to remain silent. Instead my finger tapped the Space-bar, hastening the program to end. You get the picture!

We are all-set now to understand the Power of Silence!

These days people pay money to attend camps where they are told to remain silent for 7 to 10 days; its classified as yoga practice. Isn’t that a huge joke? You pay to remain silent!

All you’ve got to do is unplug all devices, stay in  your room or a quiet corner of the house. Instead people go to an Ashram to “find” peace and quiet!

If you conquer silence you’ve conquered just about everything.

Police use the power of silence to break the toughest characters – putting a person in a dark cell with no opportunity to talk can break a person faster than pushing a needle under his thumbnail.

In Sales silence is a great tool to understand what’s on a person’s mind. In a regular sales conversation the Sales Executive is eager to push the prospect onward into the discussion. He would interject whenever the prospect falls silent or pauses. It is tempting for us to fill the silence with words. In the process we ruin our chance of getting the real picture.

You get the most comprehensive answer to your question by remaining motionless and silent; if possible, reduce the number of nods and the encouraging noises, like “Um!”.

Just remain S – I – L – E – N – T ……..

The process that’s going on in your mind takes place in the speaker’s mind too – he speaks a bit, pauses to gathers his thoughts …  now you are not responding …. and like you he too finds the silence uncomfortable and proceeds to fill it with more words.

He pauses again after a little while and you maintain the Trappist Monk act … Presto! The person continues speaking. He thinks he is in heaven because there is no opposition and you have won the battle because it’s when you give the person total control in this manner that you get the complete picture. He would share every last bit because you are seen as someone interested in what he has to say.

One last thought … Silent is an anagram of Listen!

Try it!


Don’t say “No!”

December 12, 2011 Leave a comment

What is your first instinct when someone calls you a liar or has a contrarian view to the point you are making?

You are making this killer-pitch, you are in your element and then someone from the customer’s side butts in with a comment against your opinion or says that a fact you have presented is not correct in his / her opinion.

Quite often, faced with such a situation there is a tendency to get annoyed and the urge to immediately respond with a rebuttal / substantiation of one’s stated view.

I am suggesting that such responses from the customer are windows to his mind. The objection or reaction may be an indicator of what the customer wants / what’s on his mind. By responding strongly and by pushing home our view we are throwing away an opportunity to get closer to making the sale.

Maybe, just maybe, there have been new findings on the subject, or you have not been thorough while preparing your presentation, or even that the speaker is an authority or has  experience in that subject area. It could also be because your competitor is strong in this account and has convinced the customer about something differently.

Jumping in with a negation or a strong response is fraught with danger –

–          The customer may think you are inflexible and difficult to deal with

–          They may stop sharing information with you

–          They may get irritated with the stand you are taking and stop taking the discussion further

So, the best course of action when faced with such a situation is to take a step back and pause – it’s a good time to get the customer to speak. By knowing their mind you can reshape your strategy. You may even get to know where the objection is coming from!

If you information is right; gently present proof to substantiate it rather than telling the customer outright that he is wrong.

But the best next step when faced with an objection is to ask a question. A carefully worded question or even a simple “Why do you feel so?” can take you much further than striving to win brownie points with a response.

The next time someone objects to your point of view, are you going to say “No!”? I hope the answer to this one is –  “NO!”

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