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.
Cohen Brown Management Group