If you’re hoping for temporary relief from those irritatingly persistent
salespeople from XYZ Corp., try this old standard out: "I’m
not sure I’m ready to move ahead, I’ll need some time to think it
over. Give me a call in a week or so." Unfortunately, it’s
certain you and your salespeople have been on the wrong end of that
sentence. And every time you hear it, you fall victim to the biggest
time-waster plaguing sales organizations everywhere.
It’s the old put off – indecisive behavior – "think about it."
Why do we encounter it so much? Well, many prospects think it’s the
easiest way to get rid of you so they can focus on more immediate
priorities. Some well-meaning buyers just hate to say no. But most
of all, salespeople have a problem asking prospects to make a decision
during sales presentations, largely because we don’t want to hear
no. So, we permit prospects to drag us through the purgatory of alternating
hope and despair. And even though 95% of prospects who "think
about it" never result in any business, human nature compels
us to hang on in hopes that, this time, things will finally go our
The end result: we waste valuable resources waiting for a sale that
isn’t going to happen. It takes forever to get a prospect who is "thinking
about it" to finally say "no," which means we are wasting
valuable time and selling resources. The "slow no" gives
us a false sense of security and creates an artificially inflated
True, we must learn how to respond to prospects who always want to
"think it over." Even better though, we can learn how to
stop the indecisiveness from occurring in the first place. If your
prospect is not convinced of a strong, compelling reason to buy today,
then they will put you off indefinitely in favour of priorities that
have more immediate impact on their business and personal situation.
So why not get to "no" in the first place?
Here’s how to get your prospects to make a decisive yes or no decision.
It’s critical that your customer understands they always have two
distinct and equal choices at every meeting:
1. To work with you creating the next steps in the process; or
2. To end the process, and walk away.
It is critical that you let your prospect know that you are comfortable
with either choice, but that "think about it" is not an
acceptable option. To do this effectively you must start every sales
interaction (phone or in person) with the following steps:
1. Gain agreement with the prospect that at the end of the meeting
you will together decide on the best course of action.
2. At the end of the meeting, you and the prospect decide to move
the process forward, or end the conversation because there is no
fit. Gaining this commitment from your prospect at the beginning
of the meeting will ensure the customer is comfortable telling you
"no" and will not feel compelled to string you along.
3. Ask questions to understand why your prospect wants to continue
the process. Have them convince that there is a reason for your
You prospect can decide to "think about it" or be indecisive
at any stage in the sale, so don’t make the mistake of thinking it
will only come when you ask for the order. If you’re having any doubts
that there’s a good reason for the two of you to do business together,
tell the prospect, suggest to them that you think there is no business
fit and be prepared to walk away from the deal. If getting "no"
early means you have time freed up to spend on real deals, deals that
are going to happen, it may be the most profitable answer you could