Do you have 5 seconds of patience when speaking to a client?

Do you have 5 seconds of patience when speaking to a client?

5 Seconds of Patience

Do you have 5 seconds of patience when speaking to a client?

As a consultant (and a former salesperson), I have witnessed and experienced many client conversations, and I always wonder why advisors/salespeople talk so much. Is it because they are so sure of themselves and what they do? Is it because they are convinced that a client can’t think for themselves? Is it because they are afraid of silent moments during a conversation? Are they just trying to push as many products and services as they can?

Let me give you an example: I was mystery shopping a bank in the Netherlands to observe the behaviors of their bankers at the time of a new account opening. I said I wanted to open a new account, and the advisor invited me into her office. She immediately started to explain what kinds of products they have and showed me their website, and she didn’t stop talking for almost 5 minutes. My first thought was, why didn’t she ask for my name, or any questions regarding my needs. When she finally did ask me “Do you need a credit card?”, even before I could answer she started telling me the benefits and features of their credit card and left me with my mouth open. You can imagine that at the end of the conversation, when she finally paused, I said, “Thanks for this overwhelming amount of information, but I’ve decided to keep looking.”

So few people understand the fact that pausing for 5 seconds when asking a question and waiting for the client to speak enables the client to think and makes the conversation an interactive dialogue rather than a sales presentation. As a sales professional you must, must have self-control and not interrupt the prospect as they’re thinking, otherwise, they feel overwhelmed and pushed, and they may leave unsatisfied and, even worse, go to your competitor. Being patient, waiting for the answer, listening to what a client has to say are behavioral skills that excellent sales professionals must have.

In fact, we could all adapt the 5-second pause skill in all our conversations when asking a question. If you are having a coaching conversation with your employee, or interacting with colleagues during meetings, or talking to your spouse, would this not be both respectful and effective? Let’s try it, and let me hear your experiences.

Good luck!

Brenda Schafer
Cohen Brown Management Group

Brenda Schäfer is a Results Consultant with the Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc. covering the territory of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Brenda has continually brought her vast practical financial services training and management and coaching experience to bear in proving herself to be an essential resource in improving the behavioral embedding of best practices for Cohen Brown’s clients. Brenda completed advanced studies in economics in the Netherlands, and added English and German to the list of languages she speaks fluently alongside her native Dutch. Her continuing training with the Dutch Institute for Banking, Insurance and Investments included banking skills such as private credit funds, consumer lending, mortgage and investments. In 2004 Brenda was certified by the Association for Coaching in “The power of coaching.” In 2005 she was certified by the Haagse Hogeschool for Coaching and Consultancy in personal (management) coaching, team coaching and team development. Prior to joining Cohen Brown, Brenda’s financial services career began within ABN AMRO Bank N.V. in the Netherlands, where she worked her way up to the roles of advisor, branch manager, manager services, branch coach and sales coach. Brenda successfully implemented and embedded a leadership and sales & service process and trained, coached and consulted managers and front-line salespeople within ABN AMRO Bank N.V. nationwide.

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