A couple of decades or so ago, I was fresh out of school selling advertising space for a local newspaper. A retailer asked me to write up a proposal and visit him. I laid the proposal in front of him and started explaining how the ad campaign I developed would increase sales for his business.
He kept his eyes focused on my proposal and gently raised his hand suggesting that I should let him read it. I waited for a minute and watched him read it. But it was only about 50 words and he seemed to be staring at it a long, long time.
I just couldn’t help myself. I felt compelled to convince him of the merits of my proposal. So I blathered on about something or other.
What happened next was something I’ll never forget.
He took a deep sigh and looked up at me. His face was turning red with anger. His eyes were seething with discontent.
Then, he let me have it yelling, “Get the #$%!@# out of here! Don’t they teach you anything about selling at that newspaper? You wouldn’t even let me think about it!! Now get out!”
That’s when I learned that silence is golden.
When people are making financial decisions, you have to shut up. You have to let them think.
I think tons of sales (and donations) are lost simply because salespeople (and fundraisers) just don’t know when to shut up.
No matter how uncomfortable you may feel, just remember that you owe your prospect a few moments of silence so they can think about your proposal. After all, it’s about them, not you.
Subscribe to our blog today and get actionable fundraising ideas delivered straight to your inbox!