Pauses are powerful in sales. It may feel awkward when a conversational lull hits, but these pauses can be incredibly helpful. When you wait a few seconds to speak during sales conversations, you give yourself time to think about what to say next. You also show the other person that you are thoughtfully listening to them.

Another perk of pausing is that you give the buyer time to understand your offer. They may be contemplating whether to move forward or to ask a question. If you jump in too quickly, you may derail their train of thought.

If silence makes you a little squirmy, remember that a pause in conversation can compel your prospect to open up and engage with you. Jim Domanski, an author and president of Teleconcepts Consulting, says that when used wisely and strategically, a pause can help you influence buyer behavior.

So, when should you embrace the pause? According to Domanski, there are some key places in the sales process where you should wait before speaking. We share Domanski’s insight in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Pause … after you say their name. This is a good time to pause because people naturally listen closely after they hear their name. When you say the prospect’s name and then wait a moment, you grab their attention and influence them to engage, says Domanski.

2. Pause … after you ask a question. You may want to jump in with details or data but commit to being quiet. Domanski says this gives the buyer a chance to respond, which may give you the information you need to close the deal.

3. Pause … after a trial close. According to Domanski, it’s a good idea to pause after asking confirmation questions such as “Does that make sense?” or “Are you following?” Listen to what the prospect says. If you sense hesitancy, say something like, “Susan, I hear some uncertainty.”

4. Pause … after an objection. It’s natural to want to respond right away, but a better option is to pause. This allows you to process the objection and form the best response. It also suggests that you are giving the objection a fair analysis, Domanski points out.

5. Pause … after you make an important point. By waiting a moment, you give the buyer a chance to digest the fact, feature or offer. Domanski says pausing here creates a sense of significance. Think of it like verbal highlighting.

6. Pause … after you ask for the sale. According to Domanski, it’s crucial to pause after asking for the sale. He says the silence gives the buyer time to think and respond. When you’re quiet, you can avoid talking past the close and introducing objections.

Pauses don’t have to be long to be effective. Even just waiting two to five seconds before speaking can be enough to give the prospect time to think. A lull in conversation can also help you drive home your point and encourage the buyer to speak about what’s really on their mind. If you typically fill conversational gaps, try working in more pauses.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Jim Domanski is president of Teleconcepts Consulting. He is the author of three books on B2B telesales and has been featured in such publications as Selling Power and Advertising Age.