Silence. Most people squirm when the other person doesn’t speak. This is especially problematic when you’ve engaged in a short dialogue before the ensuing silence. Let’s talk about building rapport and closing sales when your prospect responds by not engaging.

The scenario we’re discussing is one that happens early in the relationship. It occurs during the formation of a possible business relationship. You’ve exchanged a few sentences back and forth such as names, occupation, reason to talk and so forth. You’ve finished speaking and perhaps ended your side with a firm statement or question. The next thing you hear is Silence!

As an active listener, your first duty is to allow space for a reply. If after several seconds – it may seem like an eternity – the other person remains silent, especially if you’ve asked a question and invited a response, then you have to make a comment about what’s happening in the here and now.

If you suspect that your style may have been a mismatch, ask. Did I talk too much? Did I say something out of the ordinary? Have I said something inappropriate?

Now that you’ve asked a question, you have to be quiet and wait for an answer. Notice how quickly or slowly it comes. Is the prospect’s current response similar to the rest of your conversation? Or has the tone, pace, or inflection changed?

You can’t build rapport with every person you meet. Yet the probability of doing so increases when you read their personality style and match it. The goal is not merely to close sales; it’s to find and attract the right prospects and clients for your products and services.

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