One of an occasional series on Art, Yoga & Business by guest blogger Brenda McMahon
I am writing this blog while in the midst of my own silence. I have an inner calling for quiet. In my heart, there are no words for how I am experiencing the world.
In yoga, as in all meditative and spiritual practices, silence is sacred. Silence allows for space, which allows for expansion, which allows for calm. It is important that silence of words coincides with a silence of the mind, a much harder pursuit.
The chatter through this election season in the outer world has created a cascade of chatter within me. Now that all is done, I am opting for the cleansing of silence, something that is a rare commodity in our hyper-connected, argumentative and media driven world. It is important to close our devices and turn the volume down on our televisions, but it is also imperative to adjust the inner volume.
Silence brings grounding and space. This is a good tool for our inner work, but it is also a valuable technique in relationships, community and even the sales setting. When having a conversation with a friend, silence is a way to receive what they are saying, take it in and when invited, provide a response. Often in conversation, people are so busy thinking about how they’ll respond, they miss what is being said. They may not be speaking at that moment, but inside they are not being silent. Silence is the great receiver. Tune in and listen.
I recently read an insightful marketing article on the value of silence in the sales process. It is a powerful tool. When used correctly, silence can help move a sale right along. There are several places silence can be used. Here are two of them.
When the Client is Considering the artwork
You have been chatting with your client for a few minutes, perhaps discussing your inspiration and techniques employed in creating your work. The client is interactive and loves what they see. Then there is a space. It may be hard, but hold that space in silence. Don’t walk away, just remain present to the person in front of you.
Often this silence will be filled by the buyer. This space provides the client an opportunity to ask a question that is lingering. This is where your real value begins. Is the color not quite right? Are they struggling with how to get it home? Is it the price? Once armed with that information, you can answer the questions and continue on with the sales process.
Another place silence is effective is during the close. Your discussions have been vibrant, and everything is going well. You’re heading to the close, the client is now considering your art in their space. Then there is a pause, a silence. Hold that silence. That space is the tightrope of closing or losing the sale. Often, this is our most anxious time. Our inner dialogue begins, “Will they say yes?” or “Oh, I think I got this one!” or “I hope they buy it, I really need this sale.”
I’m sure you recognize your version of this moment. What also often happens is your outer dialogue begins while your inner thoughts are anxiously chattering away. You continue to talk about whatever comes to mind, just to avoid the quiet moment. Silence is uncomfortable, so often we fill it with idle chatter.
Here we have an opportunity to employ the art of silence. Next time you are at that place where the close is the next step, stay still and provide a moment of quiet. See what happens. This gives the client the space to receive all that has been said and make a decision.
It doesn’t have to be a long silence, but it should be different from the other pace of the conversation – an extended pause that says, I’m present to you and fully attentive to your next step. Let the silence hold long enough for the buyer to respond first. If that doesn’t happen, then you can take the next step, “May I wrap this up for you?”
Silence can be your friend, and a great tool to move from the sale to the close. Information is power. If you provide the space for the inner contemplation on an art purchase, it allows for expansion, which creates calm in both you and your customers. The end result is a sale that was easy and enjoyable. Play with and explore using silence as a tool. You may find you enjoy the expanse of this quiet space. Have fun crafting the Art of Silence!
Guest blogger Brenda McMahon is a ceramic artist, whose award-winning saggar fired vessels and dimensional wall art tiles have captured the hearts of collectors for over two decades. Her unique take on the saggar fire process along with her elegant burnished forms, has added to the desirability of her work. Brenda’s custom-designed wall sculptures are in scores of residential and commercial settings nationwide. She works and teaches in her St. Petersburg, Florida studio.