By the way, I can’t take credit for the title because it’s Proverbs 25:15, “With patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone.”
Now how does this relate to selling? You can look at all the research done on the subject of communication and it’s widely accepted that words only communicate about 7% of what we mean. I can say words two or three different ways and they can mean something different each time.
I learned this lesson soon after Vicki and I had our first-born daughter, Emily. I was a young and skinny tri-athlete. I swam every morning and ran or biked every afternoon. (Or, so I thought.) One summer afternoon I came home and Vicki was cooking. I said to her, ” do you mind if I go for a run?” She said, “sure, go ahead.” Well… I can’t make the sound come through the type, but let me describe how ‘sure, go ahead’ sounded; it was curt, staccato, aggravated, frustrated, not tender sounding.
Her body language did not match ‘sure, go ahead’ either. Let me also describe this; Frowns, very tight muscles in her face like when someone is thinking about lashing out at you. Well, that’s what it looked like as I think back now. Remember, I’m a new father so guess what I did. Yep!…. went for the run. A good run, too! Or, at least felt good… until I got back.
Have you ever had one of those ‘I can’t believe you did that’ fights? “I’m here cooking and you left me here with this kid and all this work … blah, blah, blah.” Do you know the feeling?
This was my very first lesson in… words don’t mean much.
You have to watch your prospect and really listen to pick up on what they are communicating. Prospects have a tendency to lie anyway. When they tell you something, ask them what they mean. Ask them to give you an example. Ask them if they can be more specific. Ask them who else beside themselves cares. Ask them how they feel about it.
When they say they want to ‘think it over’, tell them you think they meant to say ‘no’.
One can say harsh things to a prospect if one uses a gentle tongue. Don’t get mad at me, I didn’t write the Book. Cut through all the crap the prospect gives you by being patient and using a gentle tongue. Talk very nice and be very nurturing, and you’ll smoke out the truth in every deal.
And always remember to respect the prospects’ right to say ‘no’. And you also have the right to say ‘no’. Be patient, don’t get nervous, listen carefully, speak gently and don’t talk much. Listen mostly with your eyes and ears, and don’t give the words too much meaning until they clarify what they are really trying to say.