In Sales and Negotiation, Sometimes It’s What You Don’t Say That Matters

Sales And Negotiating Advice: Don’t Un-sell By Talking Too Much loves the advice of Mark H. McCormack, author of “What They Don’t Teach You At Harvard Business School.” In case you don’t recognize his name, or you didn’t read the brief biographical sketch on one of our previous posts, here it is again:

McCormack, who died in 2003, was the founder and chairman of was of International Management Group, now IMG, an international management organization that handles the commercial affairs for sports figures and celebrities. He was a lawyer and sports agent for professional athletes (particularly in golf and tennis.) The Sporting News called him “the most powerful man in sports.” (I conducted an exclusive interview with McCormack for one of my books “The Achievement Factors.”)

Here’s wise advice from Mark H. McCormack:

“If you ask a question on a particular subject, and the answer is unsatisfactory, the best response is none at all. If you’re seeking more information, or a different kind of information, ask for it by remaining silent.

“Silence is a void, and people feel an overwhelming need to fill it. If someone has finished speaking and you don’t play along by taking up your end of the dialogue, after only the slightest pause that person will automatically start to elaborate.,,,

“The use of the pregnant pause in selling is very much like fishing with a net. You put some bait in a net and silently wait for fish to swim in.

“Once you get to the point in sales pitch where you’ve asked for commitment, don’t speak again until the other person has replied in some fashion. Don’t restate your case. Don’t lobby. Don’t tell him you know it’s a tough decision…

“The buyer may be struggling with the decision and conducting an internal dialogue with himself. Don’t help him out. If he asks a question, answer monosyllabically. Even if the silence is deafening, just let it sit there.”

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