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Capitalize on Hesitation

In every negotiation, there comes a critical point when one person changes the flow and direction of the conversation. And, one of the most important skills you can develop is the ability to sense these opportunities and react positively to them.

One of these opportunities is hesitation: the moment when someone ‘takes a step back’ psychologically to evaluate what you have asked and determine how to answer the question.

Many salespeople make the mistake of interpreting a potential client’s hesitation as a negative or hostile reaction. And, when they do, they become nervous and very often ‘talk themselves out of the sale’ as a result. That’s why really successful salespeople know that brilliant sales technique is not just about speaking, but knowing when to speak. There’s a time to listen, and engage in good dialogue, but there’s also a time to simply assume control in a subtle and powerful way. Knowing what to do in the moment of hesitation is a golden opportunity.

So, let’s say you are sitting in front of a potential client and you ask what the budget is for the coming year. Instead of an immediate answer, you are faced with a deathly silence – a moment of hesitation.

If you don’t step in, you might be faced with a defensive knee jerk reaction from your potential client asking why on earth you need to know what their internal budget figures are.

To avoid this, rather be pro-active when you detect the hesitation.  Don’t wait. Pick it up and ask if the budget is 100K or closer to 200K? This way you are still in control of the conversation and you are leading him to share information willingly.

You see, when people hesitate or fall silent during a dialogue, there is a momentary vacuum – and what you put into it very often means the difference between cementing the sale, or losing it. By being aware of this, you can train yourself to take the advantage by prompting the potential (or existing) client to take action.

Human nature is a wonderful thing: it will take the path of least resistance, and if you ‘create’ a path, your client will very often simply accept what you are suggesting.

So, be mindful – and watch your sales increase.

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