Sidney C. Walker
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August 2010

"Your Clients Understand in the PAUSES..."

by Sidney C. Walker


I was recently interviewing a former coaching client, Paul Burke (#16 all-time in production with Northwestern) for a project I was doing on the Living Benefits of Life Insurance. He said something in that interview that was very profound and useful in terms of making more sales. He said, "People understand in the pauses."


There are several important aspects to that statement. One is that people can't buy whatever you are presenting unless they understand it enough to be comfortable going forward. Two, when you are explaining something to people, they need time to absorb each key point. If you run the key points together without any pauses, there is a great likelihood that the client doesn't really get what you are saying and won't be able to make a buying decision.


There is a big difference between understanding the words someone just used to explain something and actually understanding the concept being explained. If you ask your client if they "understand" what you just said, they will usually say "yes," which often means they understood the words you used. If you ask them again if they really got the concept you are sharing, they would probably ask you to go over it one more time!


A great test of understanding is to say to people after each key point in any presentation, "Before we go on with our discussion, tell me what you've heard so far," or "Tell me what you are hearing." You will often be surprised at how little they are really understanding about what you are presenting. Don't hesitate to have people tell you what they heard numerous times in an explanation or presentation.


From a psychological standpoint, we tend to project our own reality onto other people. We tend to assume that other people generally know what we know and that they are generally like us. That is a dangerous perception when it comes to communication. The reality is that everyone has a slightly different point of view even if you totally agree on something. We occupy different physical space. We can't possibly have the exact same point of view! A good rule for effective communication: don't assume people know anything for sure without checking, especially if it is critical to making a sale!


Another quirk of human nature and especially characteristic of salespeople, we are quick to forget we may have taken months to learn what we want someone else to get in ten minutes. I am not saying it isn't possible for your client to understand in ten minutes, just that most of us tend to talk too much without any pauses thinking our client is understanding our every word. We tend to think that, because we understand something, our client will automatically understand after we have explained the concept. Again, assuming your client understands what you just said may be hazardous to your wallet.


If someone can't explain something to me in simple terms or at least in a way that I can get it, I figure that they don't really understand what they are talking about. Or at least there is reason to be cautious.


Keep your explanations dirt simple and test for understanding more than you think you need to. Remember the advice of Paul Burke who sells truckloads of permanent life insurance to some of the most sophisticated people in the financial world, "People understand in the pauses."



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Have a productive August,

Toll-free: 877-985-3297



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