Silence Is Golden: Why Salespeople Would Be Wise to Shut Up

When you’re trying to make a sale, have you ever found yourself falling into the trap of talking for minutes on end, spouting off the main features of your company’s product or service without ever pausing to take a breath?


If so, chances are high that meeting or call didn’t turn out quite how you would’ve like it to. You’re not alone in facing this problem, though. In fact, it’s estimated that “over 75% of salespeople talk more than the prospect in a selling situation.”


Unfortunately, this all-too-common practice keeps many otherwise great salespeople from being truly effective. In reality, your best bet is to simply ask questions, stop talking and let someone else do the talking.


With that in mind, here’s a closer look as to why shutting up will do your sales results a favor, and how you can quickly make this kind turnaround in your sales practices:


Prospects Want to Know They’re Being Heard


Look, we all like to talk about ourselves. It’s part of human nature.


In fact, talking about ourselves (or our products) is so thoroughly ingrained in sales culture that a series of studies found that when test subjects talked about themselves, their brain produced the same “feelings of reward and satisfaction [people get] from food, sex or money.”


Yet another study found that people were even willing to lose additional earnings if it meant they could talk about themselves, rather than others.


Are you seeing a connection between these studies and your own habits?


The good news is that these same kinds of potential sales pitfalls can also help you on the road to success. After all, this means your customers want to talk about themselves, too.


By taking a moment to shut up and actually listen to what your prospects have to say, you understand what’s important to them and can form meaningful connections that will help you build quality customer relationships.


As you listen to your sales prospects and make them your focus, it will be significantly easier to discover their pain points and demonstrate true empathy.


Involve a Customer by Asking Questions


Sometimes, getting your sales prospect involved in the conversation can be a bit of a challenge. But as you ask them meaningful questions and actually listen to their responses, it will be easier to engage significantly with the customer, and ultimately, they’ll sell themselves.


So, how can you ensure that you ask the right questions and give your prospects enough time to express themselves? For starters, avoid complicated, multi-part questions. Ask one simple question, and then listen carefully to the customer’s response.


Quite often, an unexpected response could require that you completely change the course of the conversation—and that’s not a bad thing. Using simple questions to personalize your sales message to connect their dots will be far more effective than reading from a script.


If asking questions (and listening to responses) is a challenge, there’s no need to fret.


Even simple things—like writing down a list of questions in advance, recording your conversations (listening to yourself is enlightening) or hitting your phone’s mute button so you don’t interrupt while a prospect is answering—can help you know when to ask questions, become a more effective listener and get more out of your sales conversations.


Less is More


It’s important that you get the opportunity to say your piece during a sales pitch. But in the long run, it’s even more important that you close your lips, allowing a prospect to focus on making a purchase.


Sales prospects aren’t interested in what you’re trying to sell them. They have their own unique worries and needs, and they want to know specifically how your product or service is going to help them resolve the problems they’re regularly facing.


So, let them talk. Let them ask questions. Don’t throw all your focus into making a sale—instead, help your prospect make the right buying decision of their own volition.


Relationship marketing isn’t focused as much on making the pitch as it is on demonstrating that you care about your prospects and their needs.


As you keep quiet, listen as pain points are revealed and then demonstrate genuine interest by adapting your message to show how what you’re offering can solve their unique problems, you’ll be a far more effective salesperson.




Have you experienced situations where letting the customer do more of the talking helped you make a sale? Or, on the flip side of things, have you had times where shutting up would have made a difference?


Either way, I’d love to hear about them! As always, simply comment below with your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I look forward to your insights!


-Amy Volas


PS, this was originally featured on LinkedIn