I attended the KNOW quarterly luncheon today. Â It is an incredible group of women committed to business growth and networking from the greater Akron area. Â Our speaker today was Karen Hough from Improvedge. She did a wonderful job of bringing home a concept I was taught as “she who speaks first, buys”. Â It is always good to go back to basics so I wanted to discuss that concept some more.
I learned “she who speaks first, buys” when I started in IT and the company believed we were all part of the sales team so we all needed to learn sales techniques. Â And in IT, you are absolutely selling your solution to a problem because generally the user has no way of knowing if you are right or wrong. Â “She who speaks first, buys” is all about making your case and then getting out of the way. Â Generally, we want to fill that silence. Â It is so much better when people are talking because you have a chance at knowing what they are thinking and what’s going on. Â Karen made the point today that the power in an interaction is in the silence and that is so true.
Not sure? Â Years ago I was the chair of a team sent to research a solution for a problem we were having as an organization. Â There were two cheap solutions that would have required hours and hours of maintenance and support, or there was a more expensive option that would actually solve more than the initial problem and just work. Â The team was completely behind the more expensive solution but were scared to death to present to BOB, our VP (Bob was definitely an all-caps kinda guy). Â Bob was never unreasonable, but he did have lots of pressures on him that we may or may not know about and he expected people to be consummate professionals. Â In this particular organization, most of us were young and inexperienced so we didn’t necessarily know how to be who he wanted us to be. Â But, I was the chair so I got to present.
We sat in the conference room and I presented our proposal. I hit all the points that were important to Bob as well as why we felt they were important. And then, I sat down and kept my mouth shut. Â I had told the team they couldn’t talk after I finished the proposal. Â I looked at Bob and he looked at me and my friend looked at her watch. Â A minute and 30 seconds later, Bob asked a question. Â We got what we wanted. Â Later he told me I had handled it well and was surprised I could sit that quiet for that long. But I knew if I kept speaking, I was the only one buying the proposal – and I was already sold!
So in the end, the lesson is, present and then be quiet. Â You have no idea what the person is thinking so stop trying to guess. While you’re trying to read their face and are freaking out that your price is too high, they are trying to decide how to tell their boss they don’t want to go with his college buddy because they want to buy your product or service. Â Same uncomfortable expression on the face, but totally different reasons!
Write it down, carry it with you, use it everywhere. Â But I will caution you – if you teach it to your children, they will learn it and use it. Thank goodness the dog doesn’t understand…..
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