The “art” of shutting up is based on two truths…

  1. Silence is golden
  2. Patience is a virtue.

…in business you must strive to perfect this. And if you haven’t, start now.

I had a meeting with some great clients of mine recently and upon arriving to set up their account I was met with a common objection all business people face.

“I don’t think I need, (insert your product or service here).”

The “rookie” version of myself would have rallied any and all benefits and features that defended my recommendation. I used to think repeating the benefits of something would magically make it make sense to my client. However, I didn’t realize it is more important to help others understand what they need and why they need it in their own way. That requires me to shut up! 

I kept my silence and let the couple discuss their concerns and they ultimately brought the actual reasons for their uncertainty to the surface. Once I knew what the concerns were I was able to address them. They realized on their own why it was the right thing to do. Nothing would have gotten accomplished if I had kept talking.

As business people we need to stop defending our product and service. We’re not on trial. However, when you excersise “verbal patience” and let them voice their concerns you will find there are 3 outcomes, all in your favor…

  1. They answer their own question by talking and thinking out loud and help themselves understand why it’s the right choice.
  2. They do have legitimate concerns that once they are able to speak and think out loud, you can address specifically and clarify any doubt they had. (The initial objection is usually a vague and general statement that doesn’t even remotely describe the true concern(s) they have.)
  3. Their concerns are unrealistic and you cannot help them. In the moment it is disheartening. However, when the timing is right they will move forward with you or refer someone else to you because you were honest and treated them like an actual human being, not a business transaction.

WARNING: If they sign up with false hopes and unaddressed concerns you are going to wish you never recommended anything in the first place. Less is more when it comes to effective business conversations.

I constantly have to remind myself to bite my tongue and still have much more improvements I need to make.

Actively engage others in conversation by shutting up and hearing their true thoughts and concerns.

I look forward to your continued success and enjoy the day my friends!

-ibbjames