Running a Shop

Please Don't Make Me Sell: Silence is Golden

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In this column, we continue the Please Don’t Make Me Sell series. The goal of this series is to provide your front line people, who do the service reviews, with tools and tactics to use when presenting to your guests. Selling doesn’t have to be hard and stressful. When done right, it can increase sales and build customer satisfaction.

Now they know their services and products inside and out. They believe in the value of everything on your menu. If they don’t, you need to get that right first; ask your vendors for help in this training. Now, you are going to ask them to start talking. Nothing will happen without words, but now I want you to train them to shut up.

All people hate dead air; that emptiness can overwhelm and stress them out. So they keep talking until they are sure they’ve said enough. This overwhelms customers and their attention spans and limits their ability to hear what the benefits are - what’s in it for them.

Studies show that most sales people, and that is what your people really are, wait only two to three seconds before jumping back in with more words. These studies also show that customers need eight to 10 seconds to process the information presented. This gap is where sales go to die. If you don’t leave time for processing, the customer will forget what you’ve previously stated and feel bombarded with information they don’t understand.

Customers can only say yes, no or ask a question. Let them, by shutting up. Count inside your head to at least eight seconds before continuing. You’ll be amazed how uncomfortable this will make you feel, but this silence is your best friend. It reduces their stress by letting them collect their thoughts. It reduces your employees’ stress eventually. They can gather their thoughts, think about what to say next and pay attention to body language and eye contact.

In addition, silence shows you are in control, demonstrates your patience and a concern for what they have to say, that you are calm under pressure. Silence is where the sales grow.

If you would like me to come out and conduct a seminar for you, call me. I’m crisscrossing the country all the time. This will increase your profits across the board and reduce the anxiety of your employees and your customers. Now, I’ll shut up.

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