The Value of Silence


We’ve all experienced it, you’re on the receiving end of a sales call, and the seller won’t let you get a word in edgewise. They ask you a question, and before you can even think of an answer, they start in on another question or answering the original one for you.

We all recognize the value of silence, so why is it so hard for us to stop talking?

The truth is, silence in a conversation can be a good thing! It has a way of coaxing more profound thoughts and better answers to the surface, allowing you to get a more comprehensive understanding of the pains, needs, and wants of potential customers.

No matter if you’re new to the field or have been in it for twenty years, as salespeople, we find it difficult to revel in the silence. When asked, most salespeople stated that it was because they didn’t want to make customers feel uncomfortable, they didn’t want to come off as distracted/uninterested in the conversation, or they worry the customer may not have understood the question.

Let us be blunt; the customer understood the question and does not need to be “salesplained.” What they need is a moment to think or if they didn’t understand, allow them to ask you for additional context. Don’t just fill the void with word vomit.

Studies show that it only takes around four seconds for people to become uncomfortable with silence. So, perhaps your customer does find it uncomfortable, but that’s okay. As a salesperson, it’s important to remember that it’s probably only been a few seconds, so allow them to be the one to speak first.

Not only is silence important for discovery, but your ability to embrace it and not turn to your natural gift of gab says more than you would think. Take Silicon Valley Idol, Steve Jobs, for example. In a blog written about the value of silence by ringDNA, it states, “His confidence shows not just in his body language, but in his deliberate, dramatic use of silence.” Silence says confidence and leadership. It makes customers more comfortable and confident with you, your product, and your company.

As one of the most undervalued and underutilized tools a salesperson has, silence can be one of the most effective if used constructively. So, turn off the gab and embrace the silence.

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