Using – and coping with – silence in negotiations
  • sales
  • Blog post

Using – and coping with – silence in negotiations

We all know that silence can be a powerful thing. If you ask a probing question and then button your lip, chances are a prospect will reveal more than you expect, or even hint at a concession, in an effort to fill the black hole. It’s human nature.

Let’s call the scenario above a “silence contest.” As shown above, these can work well for you if you start them. But what if the other party does?

Well, first of all, remember that when the other side starts a silence contest they don’t announce it. They just ask a question or make a demand and clam up.

So how do you react? Try something like, “That’s an interesting idea, and here is what I think.” That defuses the tension and turns a potential silence contest into a thoughtful moment.

Above, all when you recognize the buyer using silence tactics, don’t fall for them. Take your time and consider what you say carefully.

For example, if you’ve asked for a concession, don’t respond to the buyer’s silence by withdrawing your request. Make the buyer tell you no.

Got all that? Now here’s an effective way for you to use silence: Scatter little bits of silence throughout the negotiation and see if other people will rush into the gaps. After you say something, don’t elaborate immediately. Or wait a bit before responding to a question.

Source: A posting by Michael Schatzki. For more, visit

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