President and founder of i-Impact group Claudio Pannunzio has said silence can be a powerful tool for client interaction. Pannunzio said advisers often fear gaps in conversation during client meetings.
“Industry research revealed that just after 2 to 3 seconds after posing a question, the average individual engaged in some sort of client sale/interaction, restates his/her question and proceeds to answering it themselves or changes the topic. This is due to the fear of facing a silent pause,” Pannunzio said.
While silence during meetings with clients can be awkward, Pannunzio said it often serves to draw out of clients to volunteer important information they may not otherwise.
“Silence can make advisers more effective, as it forces them to implement mindful listening, the foundation of effective communication, which nourishes both the speaker and the listener,” he said.
Pannunzio said there are natural opportunities within the course of a meeting with a client or prospect to utilise silence. For example, after asking prospects what challenges they want to address with their financial plan, Pannunzio said extending silence for a few seconds could prompt clients to further articulate their answer or provide additional information.
“A well-placed silent pause can enable clients to experience some specific insights, understanding or revelations that may not manifest during traditional verbal exchanges. In life, the answers to any of our questions always dwell within us, and most of the times silence rather than ongoing chatter is all we need to find an answer,” Pannunzio said.
Advisers shouldn't fear silence in their conversations with clients, the head of a U.S.-based financial services group has said.