I’m in the process of opening a brick and mortar store in my town & we’ve recently been informed that there is some government funding available for new machinery and capital expenditure (cap ex). There is around £15-25k of free money on the table with this grant, which corresponds to 30-50% of our cap ex. So it’s a nice chunk of free money to invest.
Today we finalised all the documentation and it was submitted. Early in the afternoon I received a call from the team who conduct due diligence to make sure we’re not lying about what we want to do etc.
Due to the bank holiday on Monday next week. They are having trouble getting all their work done (it’s always the final weekend in May) and so might not be able to approve our application before we purchase the equipment needed. One of the clauses is that they can’t fund something which has already been paid for.
As we have a fixed opening date in 2 weeks. We need approval in 10 days. So there is the potential to get nothing. It could be easy for me to lose frame here and push back the opening date or beg they do everything they can to help us.
I get a phone call from the person responsible from dealing with my application.
Hi, i’m X from the Local Government (LC) I’m due to review your app for the cap ex. I’m really struggling to see where we can fit you in for a site visit and then I need to complete a report for you. The earliest we could do really is the 2 weeks time. Then it will be a few days more for approval. “
Me : I was made aware that you would be meeting on the 4th for approval/review of my application.
X: Well due to the bank holiday, it’s really thrown out our work schedule.
Me: Silence. (5-10 seconds)
X: Well I don’t know when I could fit you in. The report I need to do takes 2 days, plus a half a day site visit. I’m already meeting other clients. It will really be a push to get it all done by Thursday.
Me: I was informed by my liaison officer that we are solid case with an almost a guaranteed chance of success.
X: Well yes, but you see I have meetings and other applications to look at.
Me: Silence. (5-10 seconds)
X: Ok, well I can come see you on Tuesday and then get the report done on Wednesday to be emailed out on for review Thursday. Before we meet as a panel on Monday (4th).
Me: Excellent, I look forward to showing you the business we do.
Conclusion; Use silence as a tool to get what you want. Most people hate silence and want to fill it as soon as there is a void. Let them fill it and do what you want them to do. If you can’t keep your mouth shut for 5-10 seconds after someone has spoken, then your frame needs work.
TL:DR; Keep your mouth shut and let people defeat themselves. Use the minimum amount of words possible to express your point. Most people will submit if you just stay silent. Even a short period of silence can be effective.