Sell More With Silence

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

~ Ernest Hemingway

Sell More With Silence

By Bob Burg and John David Mann

The legendary architect and futurist Buckminster (“Bucky”) Fuller hit a deep crisis in his twenties. Having gone broke and lost his infant daughter to meningitis, he felt his life was a shambles.

Standing on the edge of Lake Michigan on a bitter winter evening, about to throw himself in, he paused to think.

His life was a mess, he reasoned, because he had spent his years up to that point repeating things other people had told him.

In that moment, Bucky decided to close his mouth and not open it again until he was sure that the words he spoke really came from him.

For the next two years, he did not utter a single word. When he finally did begin to speak again, what came out was not always easy for people to understand, but the passion and conviction were unmistakably and unequivocally his and nobody else’s. It was only decades later that people came to recognize that his words also contained great genius.

What happened to Bucky is available to each and every one of us, and it was simply this:

In his silence, he discovered his authentic self. It was a critical turning point: it was in those minutes of being entirely silent and fully listening to his wife Susan that he began to understand the laws of the Go-Giver.

You tap into your greatest value and authenticity when you are not speaking. It’s not that what you say isn’t important. That’s just not where your power lies.

The most common way inexperienced salespeople shoot themselves in the foot is by saying too much when they talk about their product or service. Why do they say too much? Because they don’t yet really trust themselves. True conviction is best conveyed not through more words but through fewer; it dwells behind the words.

The Bill of Rights is stated in 660 words.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address consists of 267 words.

The Ten Commandments takes 163.

It doesn’t take a lot of words to make a powerful point. Say less; communicate more.

In conversation, often the most powerful moments are not when you are speaking but when you pause and make room for the other person.

Sometimes we rush to fill in those empty moments, perhaps out of fear that the silence will feel awkward. But it’s better to let the silences be there: silences in a conversation have a wonderful way of coaxing deeper thoughts to the surface. The most important words that will ever pass between you and your prospective customers are the words spoken by them — not by you.

What you have most to offer others, you have to offer least of all through your words; in greater part through what you do; but in greatest part through who you are.

From: Burg, Bob and Mann, John David, (2010). Go-Givers Sell More. Portfolio Hardcover.

Reprinted with permission from Art Sobczak, Business By Phone Inc. Providing how-to ideas and tips for rejectionless prospecting, selling, and servicing by phone. Get the free ebook, “29 Sales Tips You Can Use Right Now” at

Coaching Call To Action

If you are on sales calls this week, consider Bob and John’s advice and talk less, listen more. What do you learn?

What’s New?

Happy 4th of July!
July 4, 2011

Next week we celebrate the 4th of July in the United States. The Coaching Tip of the Week will be on vacation. Enjoy your holiday with family and friends honoring all that we have. We’ll be back on July 15th with more new information.


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