"Can't you do any better on the pricing?", the
drawled slowly. My mind raced through the
possibilities: $ 100 off, 5% off, 30 day terms or maybe
even 10% off.
What to do I questioned over and over in my mind over
the duration of just a few seconds. And then I
remembered the power of "the silence technique"
With great conviction and a calm voice I said, " No,
prices I gave you are my best prices."
At that point I was done talking. I was afflicted with
temporary lockjaw until the prospect reacted to my firm
stand. The silence of dead air was paralyzing while I
waited for what seemed to be an eternity for my sales
prospect to respond.
And, eventually he did
respond. " Okay, I'll take it", he
The "He who speaks first loses" technique of
negotiating had worked once again!
A coworker introduced this negotiating technique to
me some time ago. In simple language: present your
price offer for an item and then shut up. Shut up
means: no talking, silence, bite a hole through your lip
if you have to, but calmly wait for the buyer or seller's
You see, in our North American society, silence is an
uncomfortable element in a conversation. We
tolerate "dead air". A result of too much
listening and viewing, the lack of sound has
conditioned us to believe something is wrong.
The radio station must have stopped
broadcasting. The television station has a
transmission problem. Things are broken because
there is silence.
And this is the way society has evolved into evaluating
conversations. If the dialogue stops, if there is dead
air, then something is wrong or it's broken. As you talk
business and put an offer or counter offer in front of
the buyer or seller, a silence or lack of response, will
make you automatically think "It's not working, I've got
to sweeten the deal" and you break the silence and
Silence is Powerful! Never assume silence is
of rejection. It's a signal of thought taking place,
nothing more. It's a waiting game for decisions. The
impatient negotiator who makes concessions before
hearing a response from the opposing buyer or seller
is bidding in an auction with himself. He will never
know that he would have had a deal with his first offer
if he'd just waited a few more seconds.
As you negotiate for price and terms in any type of sale
or purchase, keep in mind the power of silence. Begin
to test your capacity to feel uncomfortable with
awkward silence in a conversation. Resist the
temptation to play traditional negotiating tennis by
returning each verbal volley immediately.
Let silence be your invisible negotiating team.