Top salespeople ask good questions and listen carefully to the answers. One of the most important listening skills they develop is to simply pause before replying. When the prospect finishes talking, rather than jumping in with the first thing they can think of, they take three to five seconds to quietly wait.
Pausing before you speak has three specific benefits.
• You avoid the risk of interrupting the prospect if he has just stopped to gather his thoughts.
• Your silence tells the prospect that you are giving careful consideration to what he has just said. This is a compliment, and makes him feel valuable.
• Pausing before replying means that you will actually hear and understand the prospect better because you’ve given his words a little time to soak into your mind. You will be more alert to how his words can connect with other things you know about him in relation to your product or service.
When you pause, not only do you become a more thoughtful person, you convey this to the customer. By extension, you become a more valuable person to do business with.[Ed. Note: In his audio program, Communicate With Power , Brian Tracy, master salesman and business coach, will show you how to influence people and get what you want by using only words.]