How often do you get nervous during meetings and sales pitches and end up talking too fast and too much? Before you know it, your prospect is already walking away, leaving you wondering what went wrong. Learn how to calm your nerves from the Master Hypnotist and Master of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Paul Ross, as he shares tips on how you can sit in silence and discomfort and allow your prospect to tell you what they need and leverage that information to close the deal.
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Rein It In: How To Sit In Silence & Discomfort When Meeting Prospects With Paul Ross
We have a very special guest. Our special guest is an author, speaker, trainer, Master Hypnotist, and Master of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. For many years, he’s taught tens of thousands of people the power of language to persuade, influence, sell, heal, and turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones. Before we welcome our special guests to the show, it is crazy that so many accountants and tax pros think that increasing their fees will lose them clients resulting in lower revenue.
Discounting fees, getting a lot of clients, and sending out proposal after proposal might work, but for anyone who wants to increase revenue by working harder, taking on new clients slowly, and with way more struggle. The simple fact is our clients triple their base fees and get paid, first and upfront, without ever having to chase clients down for payments or having AR ever again.
If you want to see how those accountants and taxpayers are doing it, register now for my brand-new masterclass at TheAbundantAccountant.com/masterclass. It’s an investment of 45 minutes now, but to provide a lifetime of increased revenue without working more hours or having to get more designations or qualifications. Let’s welcome our special guest, Paul Ross, to the show.
Welcome to the show, Paul.
Thank you, Michelle. It’s always an honor to address your readers and also to engage in dialogue with you. You are a genius, and I have admiration and respect for you that is selling them something I feel or experienced in my life. Thank you for letting me contribute.
In this episode, we are talking about the benefits, the perks, and the abundance of money that comes from sitting in silence and discomfort. Especially when you are sitting with a client, all you want to do is talk and tell them how smart you are and get to the point. Tell them how much it’s going to cost to work with you but then realize that they say they want to think about it and take it home to review.
You realize that in the last hour, you’ve talked the whole time and never sat in the silence or discomfort that might come from blank space. That’s what we are talking about. I’m very happy to have Paul here, who is also a genius. He’s also my work husband and has a background in all of this stuff. He even wrote a book called Subtle Words That Sell. Thank you for being here.
Let’s dive into our conversation about silence, discomfort, and keeping the talking to a minimum in an enrollment sales conversation when meeting with clients because that’s the way to generate more revenue. A lot of accounting and tax professionals emailed me, and I met some in person and said, “Michelle, how do you do it? How do you sit there with your discomfort in silence without anyone talking?” That’s what we are talking about. Paul, I would love to get your take on this topic. If we can give our readers some actionable steps for their next sales meeting, that’s always our mission here on the show. We will probably give you 2, 3 or 4 things. Make sure you have your yellow or white legal pad in front of you to take notes.
What would you say the first thing is for an accounting or tax pro when they are meeting with a client, asking some questions, dominating the conversation by talking way too much, wanting to get to the point, have a stack of tax returns on their desks, don’t want to deal with any of this listening, asking questions, and doing all the other things we’ve talked about here? Paul, what would you say the first thing is to learn how to sit in silence and be in discomfort?
It’s important to recognize that when you are quiet, you give the other person the opportunity to give you useful information. If you are just talking and talking, then you are not giving yourself the leverage to hear what the other person’s needs are. You’re not giving them the opportunity to tell you what it is they are looking for, so they recognize they are making a good decision. Nowadays, your clients and prospects don’t know how to make a good decision. They don’t trust themselves. When you are quiet, you enabled them to give you the necessary information. This is critical in determining what your next question is going to be.
First and foremost, it’s very useful and even necessary because you have to be able to elicit the right information. The second thing to recognize is that discomfort is not a sign. That something is going wrong. It’s only a sign that internally, you are having a conflict. It doesn’t give you any data that you are going to fail. Most people feel discomfort and they think, “This means I’m failing.” It gives you no information about how the other person is responding to you. It’s only a sign to, for whatever reason, you are having some internal conflict.
One of the first things you said was, “Learn how to be in silence in all of your conversations, not just when you are about to meet with a new prospect in your firm. You have to practice this outside of that.” Can you give a few examples of what that would look like and then how to best practice that and be in discomfort? A lot of people have kids, how can you practice that with your kids?
You have to, first and foremost, train yourself to be a little less triggered and reactive. You notice I’m not saying, “Don’t ever be triggered and reactive. The only way I’ve learned to do this, and I’m not going to get into the details of it, is to do a very small meditation practice every day. I don’t care if it’s five minutes, it will bring you into the space where you can quiet down your mind a little bit. You don’t have to be a Zen master and sit there and watch all your thoughts disappear.Discomfort is not a sign that something is going wrong. It's only a sign that, internally, you have a conflict Click To Tweet
I have been meditating since 2006. I haven’t had my coffee yet. It’s a long time. I still can’t have more than five minutes of silence. I still very often talk over the other person but have a small meditation practice and also hold compassion for the other person. I don’t mean you hold love in your heart, you are glowing and all that because, after all, you are in business.
It means you understand that they have to go through their process of discernment. If you don’t let them go through that discernment process, they are not only going to lose trust in you. They are going to get confused. One of the number one enemies of any sales conversation is the other person being confused. A confused mind can’t make choices.
When you are able to sit with your discomfort and recognize it, it’s not a sign that you are losing, it’s only a sign that you are stepping into a new opportunity of walking through the sales world then the other person has the opportunity or time to take in what you have to say. They can get the clarity they need to make a good decision. Being silent allows the other person to cease being confused, and that gives them the clarity they need to make a good decision.
Oftentimes when the prospect gives us an objection, it’s about them being confused. Confused about the value proposition and about something else. They are not going to give you the real objections. This is a good way to get the real objection out on the table. An objection that’s unspoken is an objection that you cannot convert to a sale.
When you are quiet, they are going to give you the smokescreen. “I need more time to think it over.” To which my response is, “I understand. Have you ever taken a long time to think something over and still turned out to be a horrible decision? Maybe it’s not about time but about the clarity, you need to recognize it’s safe to move forward now.”
Being in silence and discomfort, as you said, allows the other person who you are talking to even think about what they need, what their challenges are or why they are sitting in front of you. When we talk over people or talk too much, the other person can’t think because they are ultimately listening, and you can’t listen and think well at the same time.
Silence provides that space like in meditation but you were saying, even if you are practicing it five minutes a day, that’s a great way to take your next step. When you are with your client, you can practice your in-person meditation for your clients to learn and be able to make a good decision about a question that you ask, and you need to hear an answer or listen for what their challenges or needs are.
The biggest thing you shared, Paul, was that nothing is wrong. A lot of people in why it feels so difficult to sit in silence or in that discomfort is because we think, “Did we say something wrong? What are they thinking? Do they not want to work with me? Do they not like what I said?” You have the inner critic going on in your head at a rapid and loud pace, and then you go and do a downward spiral and end up talking even more.
There’s something a little bit more subtle but it will ring true for everyone that reads this. When you go into a sales situation, I don’t care what you are selling. There’s a frame. By frame, I simply mean the underlying idea of who holds the value, the gift in the conversation, and who has what the other person wants. When you talk fast, it indicates desperation. It indicates that you are hungry, which indicates you have no other options and are not in demand. Who’s going to pay a high fee to someone who’s not in demand?
There’s something that one of my mentors used to say, “The person who is hungry never gets fed.” I don’t know if that’s true but if you are hungry for the sale, which is conveyed through how fast you talk, even if you are not hungry for the sale. Let’s say you are doing well and not hungry but if you are in the habit of talking fast, you will come across as hungry, needy, and a person needs them rather than setting the frame that they are the ones who need your service.An unspoken objection is an objection you cannot convert to a sale. So when you're quiet, they'll give you the smokescreen. Click To Tweet
What you were saying is the person who is hungry is never fed because if we are desperate, clients and prospects can sense that. It backfires on you because they will go somewhere else. They will look for another accounting or tax firm because they are talking fast or even talking too much. I’ve noticed that. With a lot of the clients that I’ve worked with when we get good at not talking and listening to a point where if it’s quiet for five minutes, it doesn’t even phase you.
The thought of something is wrong doesn’t even cross your mind anymore, that’s when you become highly valuable and attractive to the person you are meeting, which is very counterintuitive to what you would think. You would think, “I need to tell them about my firm, how long I have been in business, how many clients I have, and all my credentials.”
You are giving them a resume. No one wants to sit and listen to a resume. Do you want to listen to a resume? I want to know what’s in it for me.
We talked a little bit about starting with a small meditation. What’s another way to put this into practice in the real world now?
In addition to the biography that you gave out, I’m also a healer. I learned this from healing trauma. Of course, your clients are not traumatized or maybe they are.
Some might be. Tax season has traumatized a lot of people every year.
I have been traumatized by the IRS but we are not getting that. One of the ways you can turn off that internal dialogue is by using the body. I learned this through the work of a brilliant guy by the name of Peter Levine. He is Zen Master and works with trauma. It’s very simple. You use the body to comfort yourself, and no one will notice it. It will look to them like you are crossing your arms. You take your right hand, and you put it under your left armpit, and then you take your left hand and put it on your right bicep.
This sounds a little nutty but what it does is remind your body that you are in a safe container and you are okay. It automatically slows down and turns off the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for putting us into fight and flight, and activates our parasympathetic nervous system, which is designed to calm us down.
If you try to have an internal conversation like, “Calm down and stop talking,” you are adding fuel to the fire but if you interrupt it by using the body, the body has the wisdom that the mind does not have contact with. You use your body to do that. You will calm down. The internal dialogue slows down. It’s automatic. You don’t have to try. If anyone wants to see more, search for Peter Levine on YouTube. You will see him talk about this thing.
It’s important. As you said, you are turning off the sympathetic nervous system and interrupting the system where you said, a lot of times, they think all of us, including me, think something is wrong, and then your inner critic goes down a downward spiral. As Paul said, you are putting fuel on a fire that’s already going. It’s only going to get worse, and then you are going to start over talking because the silence will become too much. You said to put your right hand under your left armpit and your left hand over your right bicep.The body has the wisdom that the mind does not have contact with. So use your body to calm yourself down. It's automatic. Click To Tweet
It will look like you are in a listening posture. You are talking over the phone. I’m assuming you are not face-to-face. They will never know and see it. You will calm down guaranteed and automatically. This works for people who are deeply traumatized. It will work for you if you are jumping in nervous about a sales conversation.
What kind of trauma has that healed mostly?
People who have been in car accidents, war, and all sorts of things. It’s a temporary hold. It’s not going to heal the trauma. It’s called self-regulate. You can self-regulate your emotions and your body’s responses. Self-regulation is a great tool to learn to quiet the mind, which in turn allows you to sit in silence. Unexpectedly, I don’t want to get too tactical. In my past appearances, I’ve either gone off the rails or ran into the weeds.
What’s the third thing we can try? We have a little bit of meditation. We have the right hand under the left armpit, the left hand over the right bicep to give ourselves a little hug, and then turn off the sympathetic nervous system.
This is what the Navy SEALs call box breathing. This is a technique from highly trained warriors. This is what they do. You do this before you pick up the phone for the call. Before you are on Skype or wherever you do it. You breathe in for 4, hold for 2, and you breathe out for 6. You make the exhale two beats slower than the inhale. This is written many years ago, potentially in the Yoga Sutra. This is an ancient technique that really works.
This is using the breath. You breathe in for 4, hold for 2, and you breathe out for 6. It’s guaranteed to work. Combine it with a special arm crossing. You will get quiet in the mind. You will be prepared. You will be open to listen. You won’t be talking. Here’s the thing, we are incorporating the body and the breath, which you are using anyway all the time. It’s not some sophisticated technique. You can do it right away, and it works across all contexts.
Those are all three ways to practice when you are with your family at dinner, and you ask a question, you can go into some box breathing to wait for the answer instead of opening up your mouth and interrupting.
On a date, which is a sales conversation, too many people don’t get a second date because they talk mostly about themselves.
That’s very true. You could practice this with your kids.
Kids are such an absolute, that’s why I never had them. I’m joking.You're never selling your services. You're always selling decisions and good feelings about decisions. Click To Tweet
A lot of people reading have kids and family but at dinner, you could ask the kids, “What did you learn now?” You could put your right arm under your left armpit and practice putting your left arm on your right bicep, and do the box breathing at the same time, right after you asked the question. You are going to breathe in for 4, hold for 2, and then breathe out for a count of 6.
It’s important that we are not get triggered. Particularly, if you are in a rapport, “I want to take one second.” It’s 30 seconds to make little shifts that really help people. Everyone talks about being in rapport. If you are in rapport with your potential client or prospect, and you start getting panicky and talking too fast, they will start getting panicky. They won’t know why they are just feeling what you are feeling and will think to themselves. “I’m feeling panicky. This other person is not trustworthy.” It also enables you to stay in rapport in a healthy way. Not all rapport is healthy. It enables you to have a healthy effective report. It has so many benefits.
It’s almost like when someone yawns, you start to yawn as well. If you start to be panicky, the other person becomes panicky, too.
They won’t know why. They will assume there’s a problem with you.
I know. I’m a great guest.
I will give you guys a fourth idea on how to learn to be in silence and enjoy the calm and the peace and use your mute button. I will use the mute button and then if you need to say something, at least they are not going to hear it and have a cup of coffee. I drink a half gallon of water in the morning and a half gallon in the afternoon. I always have my big jug with me but utilizing the mute button will help you get past that discomfort because it is uncomfortable for a lot of people. When you put it on mute, then you can do Paul’s ideas, too. You can do the armpit trick and breathing trick. Put all these things into place and watch what happens.
Out of the hundreds of firms that I’ve worked with, to be honest, this skillset is the one that makes the big bucks. The more you can stop talking, be silent, and sit in that discomfort until it becomes comfortable, eventually, it will, the more revenue you will generate and your clients will be able to make better and more good decisions that they feel good about because they need to be able to think straight. If they are being interrupted, you are interrupting their thinking pattern, which then they can’t make a decision.
Mic drop moment, you are never selling your services. You are always selling decisions and good feelings about decisions. You are never selling your accounting practice or any of that.
You are always selling good decisions and then good feelings about good decisions and the decisions that they want to decide on. That was a tongue twister. Thank you, Paul, so much for being here. This was fantastic.
It’s my honor.
This is stuff you can practice every day, and little repetitions go a far way. Is there anything else that you would like to share that we did not cover as it relates to learning how to be in silence and discomfort?
Not really. I would love to plug my book. You can get it on Amazon.
In the beginning, I shared that Paul wrote the book, Subtle Words That Sell, which you can get on Amazon. Make sure to grab a copy. It’s very good. It will help only put more revenue in your bank account.
That’s what counts.
Thank you again for being here. This was fantastic. I love all the simple things that can make a huge impact in difference in your firm.
It’s always my honor, Michelle. You are one of the most brilliant human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet in my life, and I mean that sincerely.
Thank you again for being here, and I know you will be back soon.
Thank you, Michelle.
What an amazing episode with Paul. He always has so many great golden nuggets, and we get right to the point but if sitting in silence and discomfort is not comfortable for you, this is an area to focus on. Put in 5 to 10 minutes a day, be mindful, practice, putting your right hand under your left armpit, putting your left hand over your right bicep, and remember box breathing, breathe in for 4 seconds, hold it for 2 seconds and breathe out for 6 seconds. The Navy SEALs are doing it, then I bet it works. It takes repetition. Repetition is what will have you increase revenue, put more money in your bank account, and have more clients say yes to you than telling you that they are going to go think about it or go elsewhere. Put these into practice.
I do have a brand-new masterclass. If you are looking to increase your fees without losing revenue or your best loyal legacy clients, then head on over to TheAbundantAccountant.com/masterclass. It’s an investment of 45 minutes now, but we will provide you a lifetime of increased revenue without working harder, without working more hours, and without having to get any more designations or qualifications. You can see exactly how my clients are getting paid double what they were before, sometimes tripling their base fees, getting paid first and upfront, without ever having to chase down clients for payments, and having AR. I look forward to seeing some of you there. Have a wonderful day.
- Paul Ross
- Subtle Words That Sell
- Amazon – Subtle Words That Sell
About Paul Ross
Paul Ross is an author, speaker, trainer, Master Hypnotist, and Master of Neuro-Linguistic Programming. For the past 30 years he’s taught tens of thousands of people the power of language to persuade, influence, sell, heal and turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones.