I know we’ve talked about this before, but I was again reminded of it in a series of interviews I’m doing right now. This is an old sales axiom I learned years ago through Micro Electronics’ sales training program and it has served me well in many situations. The idea is simple: you put out your pitch and then shut up. Whoever speaks next has “bought” the idea. So if you put something out there and then keep talking, the only one buying is you. See what I mean?
Many years ago I had to make a tough pitch to a vice president known for being a ruthless negotiator. The team elected me to be the voice but I was definitely nervous. I chanted “he who speaks first buys” all the way up the steps to the meeting. Once there, I laid out our very well thought out plan and then shut up. He reviewed the material, checked his watch, and then simply stared at me. At the time I would have told you it was an hour and half (and my team completely agreed) but I’m sure it was less than a minute. At the end of that time, he agreed. Signed the document and walked out. At the door he told us we’d done a good job. WAHOO!!!!
Later, he stopped me in the hallway and asked why I didn’t say anymore. I told him I had made my case and there was nothing more to say. He laughed and waited. So this time I bought and told him “he who speaks first buys”. He got a big laugh and said he hoped the sales people he had trained had learned the lesson so well.
It came up again this week because I’m conducting interviews for a client. A candidate had a difficult situation in his background and I had to ask him about it. He explained and I sympathized and then explained I needed to pause for a sec to make sure my notes were correct. While I was doing that, he continued talking. And talking. And talking. Seriously. I get that he wanted to make sure I had the right impression and understood what happened wasn’t his fault, but after he talked SO MUCH, I started to wonder why. He was buying, but I wasn’t.
So this week – try it. Put an idea out there whether that’s to a coworker, a client, a prospect, your significant other, your child, whoever and be quiet. It is amazing how powerful it is!