When the customer goes silent, the first thing you need to do is let them think.
The worst thing you can do is jump in and start giving them a reason to not buy right now.
When you jump in too quickly, almost always the signal that you send is you’re willing to make a deal or you’re in a panic to get the order.
Either way, you lose and the customer wins.
The customer wins because they wind up getting a better deal or they walk away because they don’t have confidence in you and what you’re selling.
If you have taken the time to understand from the customer their needs and have structured your value proposition accordingly, then you have nothing to worry about.
Just because the customer doesn’t say “yes” right away is not a reason to worry. We all make our decisions at various rates of speed.
This again is where your sales process should have helped you understand a little bit about how the customer thinks and the speed with which they make decisions.
A question I like to ask during the selling process to find out more is, “How have you made decisions like this before?” Goal is to get them to share with you in advance what you might be able to expect from them when it’s time to close the sale.
If the customer goes completely silent on you and won’t give you any indication as to why, you should try one of the below methods:
If you’re still in the meeting with them or on the phone, use the assumptive closing technique. State confidently something like, “Well, would the 15th or 21st work best for you to start receiving the order?”
Yes, the approach also works in an email, but my preference is to always close deals minimally over the telephone if I can’t meet with them in person.
If a day or two has gone by and you still haven’t heard anything, approach them with a question that ties back to a critical need they have and link it to the urgency of time.
An example might be, “I know you have the new plant starting up in 6 weeks, and in order for everything to run smoothly, we’ll need to get the order moving forward by the end of the week.”
With this situation, you’re drawing attention to a key need they have and help them realize why they have been dealing with you from the beginning. You are committed to advising them on solutions.
Having a customer go silent is not the end of the road. It’s merely an opportunity for you to get paid doing what you’re supposed to be doing — closing sales other people can’t get!
Copyright 2014, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.