Talking Slow = Credibility in Sales Presentation

No one likes talking to a “salesman” in the conventional sense because most people’s first thoughts are a fast-talking guy who will say Yes to everything and is just there to get your money. Be it insurance on the phone or enterprise software in-person, it is critical to counter this stereotype. In my opinion this is most easily done by saying everything at half-speed. In a big sales pitch, adrenaline will be running, the spotlight will be on you, so if you keep telling yourself to speak at half-speed, it will come out at normal speed. This was my early struggle because I feared dead time – that is the moment of silence in a meeting when no one is talking, I’ve later learned that that moment of silence after a key point is critical for the audience to reflect and internalize when you’ve said – therefore things came out a million miles per hour. Also, talking super-fast screams “geek” and when you’re trying to sell anything tech to a non-tech person, you want to do as much as possible to be “one of them.”

2 comments on “Talking Slow = Credibility in Sales Presentation
  • The other thing that one learns is that silence is one of the best ways to learn. Whenever I hear salespeople filling dead air during a call, I kick them under the table. You want to the customer to do as much talking as possible, not you.

    Here’s an example: Recently, I was involved in a negotiation with a firm. They wanted our money, we wanted some specific things that they might not want to give. After 30 minutes of fencing, there was a moment of silence. My PR manager started to talk, but I stopped her with the “hush” signal. After 5 seconds, the firm, in an indirect but unmistakable fashion, acceded to our demands.

    That wouldn’t have happened without the power of silence.

  • Another great post, Ben.

    When I first started out, I found it hard because I chose to sell something I was passionate about. This was a deliberate choice so that t I didn’t feel like a sell-out and could maintain years of working to build a business. The downside I soon found was that being so passionate meant that I was talking fast, and often right over the head of my client. It took practice before I learned like you did to slow down, yet still carry the passion in my speech.

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