- Posted by: Ruth Van Vierzen
- Category: Blog
A while back a friend was sharing with me about a difficult situation she was in. My protective instincts kicked in and I immediately got worked up… on her behalf… started talking over her and telling her how I would help. I later regretted how I had handled the conversation. Rather than give her space to talk, I interrupted. Rather than stay calm, I got even more upset than she was!
I called her later to apologize for not Daniel Pinking her. In her usual comedic way, she replied “That sounds sexy. What is it?” I explained how I had been making an effort to improve my listening skills by applying author Daniel Pink’s advice in his book “To Sell is Human” (a recommended read!). But I let my emotions get the better of me during our conversation, and had forgotten to do so.
And therein lies the value of Daniel Pink’s simple but brilliant advice. Just the effort of making it a habit serves to remind us when we aren’t applying it. In fact, when I’m reflecting later on how a conversation has gone, I might berate myself because I forgot to Daniel Pink the person. Yes, I find this such a powerful technique that I’ve turned his name into a verb.
Daniel Pink’s advice is this. When talking with someone, wait 5 seconds when the person has finished speaking before responding. I know that seems like a long time to pause in a conversation. But it’s not the 5 seconds that’s so important. 2 or 3 seconds will do. The 5 seconds serves as a reminder to focus more on listening. That few seconds pause sends a powerful message that you’ve heard what the person has said. It gives you time to process and give a more thoughtful response. It is truly an effective way to let someone feel heard. Because they are.
I encourage readers to apply this technique immediately in your next conversation. Notice the shift it causes in you and the person you’re speaking with. You will not only find the conversation more relaxed and enjoyable, you will remember much better what was said.
This communication technique benefits sales conversations in several ways:
Attention Naturally Gravitates to the Prospect or Customer
It is tempting in sales calls to slip back into old habits of talking on and on about features and benefits. But in sales, we should strive for a ratio of 20% talking and 80% listening. If you go into the sales call with Daniel Pink’s 5 Second Rule in mind, it will help you shift into listening mode. And the more you listen, the more critical details you will absorb that the prospect has shared with you.
You Will Feel More Relaxed During the Conversation
The first time you apply this technique, you will notice an immediate shift in how you feel. I know that I am much more relaxed and enjoy the conversation more when I’m more focused on listening instead of what I want to say. You will also see a change in the people you’re speaking with. They will likely shift into a less rushed way of talking because they can sense that you are listening with patience and interest.
It Gives You Time to Consider Your Response
5 seconds, or even 2 seconds, may not seem like a long time. But it’s amazing how much the brain can process in a matter of seconds. And it’s likely all the time you’ll need to formulate a more thoughtful response in a conversation.
The Prospect Will Remember How You Made Them Feel
One of my favourite sayings in sales is “People will not always remember what you said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”. When we feel heard in a conversation, we are more likely to remember the person with whom we were speaking. You want and need your prospects to remember you. So let them remember you as the person who genuinely listened.
We live in such a rushed era. And our sense of constantly being rushed spills over into how we communicate with others. Give yourself the gift of time when talking with someone. Not just in sales, but in any conversation you’re having. Shift yourself into pause mode and enjoy those few seconds of silence between spoken thoughts. You will not only have better conversations, you will make better connections with people overall.
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Photo Credit: Nappy