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I’ll cover topics ranging from what to say and what not to say all the way to making your potential client feel validated, how to form genuine connections, staying motivated when you’re dragging, studying speech patters and intonation, how to remain in control of the conversation and managing the gatekeeper.

The Power of Silence

One of the ‘biggies’ in the sales world is Kelley Robertson, whom I respect tremendously. He has been doing this a long time and is the esteemed author of Stop, Ask, Listen. Kelley published a blog post which I think holds incredible value, and I’d like to not only credit him but springboard it into some examples that I believe will be helpful to all of us.

Pausing is polite

Kelley’s valuable point here is that most people are uncomfortable with silence. On a Cold Call, you can manipulate silence and use it to your advantage – it’s not pushy, it’s not rude and it’s not argumentative.  You’re simply pausing.  Combine this with intelligent, leading statements (not questions) and you’ve got a winning formula for gathering information – a key ingredient in your Cold Calling initiatives.

Compelling your potential client to speak

For example, you place the Cold Call to the person who is either a decision influencer or the decision maker.  You stroke his ego a bit by saying “If I am correctly informed (and do correct me if I’m wrong) you are THE manager of XYZ.”  Then wait. Don’t ask him to confirm, don’t ask him if you’re correct – just provide a pregnant silence, and he’ll feel compelled to respond, to avoid social awkwardness.

This is not a question, it’s a statement.  Since you’ve done your homework before picking up the phone, you know whom you’re calling.  You are pretty sure you’ve reached the right person, and by providing this small silence, you’ve prompted him to be modest. By providing the silent time, you’ve basically asked him an open ended question – you’ve set the stage for him to let his guard down and speak with you.

If he balks and insists that there are several people involved in the management of XYZ, you compliment him (genuinely) and tell him “Well, that’s how your colleagues see you.”  This can easily segue into a social discussion that would have been impossible without the inroads pre-empting the opportunity.

Filling the void with information

By simply providing some silence which your potential client felt compelled to fill, you gathered valuable information and, in addition, provided an easy transition into casual banter, which is always ideally for selling.  Pick and choose your pregnant pauses, listen more than you talk, and use silence to your advantage.

I know that we, as salespeople, are often tempted to speak nonstop – it comes naturally to us –  but think about how far calculated silence can really get you, and maybe you’ll decide that it’s worthwhile strategically tame the verbal beast.


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