Monday, May 14, 2007

I need to think about it...

Excellent post over at Salesopedia on how to deal with the "I need to think about it".

We've all faced that hurdle. It's frustrating and hard to cross. Why does it happen? I think that many people don't like to say no - particularly face to face. It can make them uncomfortable. Secondly, perhaps there is a legitimate reason for them to defer the process. Could it be that they are having problems securing the budget? Or has their manager changed priorities? The real reason may be something that they are not ready to share with you.

One key point I like is to agree on the process for the meeting - at the start of the meeting. Let the customer know that you expect a decision at the end of the meeting. That decision could be the final sign off, but it also could be merely whether you and the customer will continue to spend time together on this opportunity.

Either way at every meeting I let the customer know that I expect a decision. I'm a salesman - its my job. They know that's why I'm there. If I think I need to, I let them know that it is OK for them to say no. I don't mind. In any case a no either gives me another crack at the sale, or it lets me get to the next prospect.

But you may still get the "I need to think about it...". Years ago, I was trained to ask "What do you need to think about?" And invariably I'd get the "Not sure, I just need to think about it...". Where do you go from there? Probably out the door to the carpark!

After a while (OK a couple of years) I started to get heartily sick of this. My instinct told me why I wasn't getting the sale, but I was still confronted by the black hole of "I need to think about it...".

Then one day I asked.

"That's great John. Is there anything in particular that you need to think about? Or are you concerned about the price on this contract?"

That's the solution. A variation on the alternative of choice close: "Is there anything in particular that you need to think about? Or are you concerned about [insert real objection]?"

Invariably you'll have a fair idea about the real hurdle - so just ask outright. Be bold. They keep talking, tell you what the real issues are - giving you more opportunities to secure the sale.

Jason Wenn

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