SalesBuzz: The great value of Nothing

Sales Tool 3.0Sales people always ask me “what do I say when they say…” this, that or the other thing. At times we have tested answers, other times we’ll have options that work to different degrees given the circumstance, and sometime we have nothing, so we don’t make it up, and there lies the difference between us and others, we are not frightened of the void that is ‘nothing’.

I am not sure how it is with other professionals, but since I work with sales people most of the time, I can tell you that sales people hate – and are really frightened when the obvious choice is ‘nothing’; nothing to say, nothing to add, nothing that fits the situation. I don’t know if it is the absence of ‘something’, the silence, the void or just the Zen of the void; whatever it is, seems sales people just can’t stand it. You want to freak out a sales person; you can do it with ‘nothing’.

It’s not that they need to talk, most buy into the silly notion that “he who speaks first loses”; it is that many have not come to appreciate the intangible mass of ‘nothing’. When they are asked a question, they feel compelled to answer, right away. Some have mastered the pregnant pause, and as a result have witnessed first hand bit of the power of nothing, but most feel compelled to put something where ‘nothing’ belongs.

Watch a lot of sales people when a buyer proclaims that their price is too high or expensive, right away the seller is in there working to counter the claim. Why, what would happen if you said nothing, as if to wait for the buyer to go on. There is no law that says we have to respond to that, it is just one of a number of opinions in the room. But sellers jump in there filling up perfectly good space where the best thing would be ‘nothing’.

When buyers question aspects of the product, offering or structure of a deal, sellers right away view that as an “objection” and start “defending” or countering the “objection”. In many cases it isn’t even an “objection” but a review of the facts, or a vocalization of the buyer reassuring himself of their decision to abandon the status quo. While you may want to reassure the buyer, it does not have to be instantaneous; things can wait, let the buyer think about what they said before you dive in if you really have to.

As with all approaches you have to make sure that it fits the situation, but if what most sales people respond with doesn’t address every situation, it must also be true that opting for ‘nothing’ is at time the best way to resolve things. Try it, next time don’t say anything, see what they say. What have you got to lose, nothing.

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Tibor Shanto

Tibor Shanto is Sales Practice Director of VARCoach and VP of Sales Effectiveness at Channel Test Factory. Tibor is a recognized speaker, author of award winning book Shift!: Harness The Trigger Events That Turn Prospects Into Customers. Called a brilliant sales tactician Tibor helps organizations increase sales through execute. Tibor is at, or + 1 (416) 822-7781.