•All the succcessful persons ask good questions and listen carefully to the answers. One of the most important skills of listening is simply to pause before replying. When the prospect finishes talking, rather than jumping in with the first thing that you can think of, take three to five seconds to pause quietly and wait. •Becoming a Master of the Pause >All excellent listeners are masters of the pause. They are comfortable with silences. When the other person finishes speaking, they take a breath, relax and smile before saying anything. They know that the pause is a key part of good communications. •Three Benefits of Pausing >Pausing before you speak has three specific benefits. The first is that you avoid the risk of interrupting the prospect if he or she has just stopped to gather his or her thoughts. Remember, your primary job in the sales conversation is to build and maintain a high level of trust, and listening builds trust. When you pause for a few seconds, you often find the prospect will continue speaking. He will give you more information and further opportunity to listen, enabling you to gather more of the information you need to make the sale. •Carefully Consider What You Just Heard >The second benefit of pausing is that your silence tells the prospect that you are giving careful consideration to what he or she has just said. By carefully considering the other person’s words, you are paying him or her a compliment. You are implicitly saying that you consider what he or she has said to be important and worthy of quiet reflection. You make the prospect feel more valuable with your silence. You raise his self-esteem and make him feel better about himself. •Understanding With Greater Efficiency >The third benefit of pausing before replying is that you will actually hear and understand the prospect better if you give his or her words a few seconds to soak into your mind. The more time you take to reflect upon what has just been said, the more conscious you will be of the their real meaning. You will be more alert to how his words can connect with other things you know about the prospect in relation to your product or service. •The Message You Send >When you pause, not only do you become a more thoughtful person, but you convey this to the customer. By extension, you become a more valuable person to do business with. And you achieve this by simply pausing for a few seconds before you reply after your prospect or customer has spoken. •Action Exercises >Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.First, take time to carefully consider what the customer just said and what he might mean by it. Pausing allows you to read between the lines.Second, show the customer that you really value what he has said by reflecting for a few moments before you reply.