There’s hardly anything I can think of that’s more cringeworthy to a seller than hearing, “I’ll think it over” come out of a prospect’s mouth after you’ve proposed a solution or put a contract in front of him or her.
For me, it was worse than hearing a flat out, “No” or “I’ve chosen another vendor.”
Nails on a chalkboard are more welcomed than the purgatory of hearing “Let me think about it.”
Our experience tells us it’s probably a dead deal, but there’s some shred of hope that we cling to – not wanting to give up because of the sunk costs of time and effort we’ve invested in getting to this point.
I had a one-on-one coaching session with a seller via video last week and they brought up a scenario where an opportunity stalled after she proposed a solution to an owner and business manager. She walked out of the meeting with the “We need to talk it over” response.
This seller wanted to know what she could have done to turn around the situation or what was the best thing she could have said at that point.
I’ve seen a LOT of expert advice as to how to push back to this, such as …
“I completely understand. Are you worried about the cost, or need more information to proceed?”
“Most of the time, ‘Let me think about it,’ is a polite way to say, ‘No.’ I’m a big girl, I can take it if that’s the case, so no need to let me down easy.”
“Of course. As you are thinking this through, is there anyone else involved that I haven’t spoken with?”
It wasn’t until I heard MYSELF saying these exact words many times to eager sellers that I was able to unravel how to handle this situation.
Or, more accurately, how to AVOID this situation.
Take the most recent time I said this when pitched a solution. I signed up for a free trial session at a wellness facility. I was interested in what they had to offer, curious about the outcomes to help improve my shoulder mobility, and I couldn’t find pricing or commitments on the website. I had an idea about what the cost might be but wasn’t sure. After the session, when they proposed their treatment plan, I was really surprised. It was about twice what I expected it to be and they only work in three-month contracts that renew automatically.
Whoa. The expense I could deal with, maybe. The commitment was what got me. No punch card or monthly number of visits? Ugh.
I appreciated the service and found it to be helpful but truthfully, I wouldn’t have gone to the demo had I known these things upfront. I didn’t have enough information going in and when I did have that information, I was caught by surprise and simply wanted to remove myself from the situation to be able to process … mostly my disappointment.
That’s one scenario.
Researching ways to disperse my Skills Builder sessions to remote sales teams, I came across several interesting platforms that I wanted to see how they functioned. To do that, I had to hand over my email address to request a demo.
That triggers outreach from a BDR (business development rep) to contact me via email.
I scheduled a few demos but when pressed to move forward, I responded with, “I need to think about it.”
Truly, I did. I needed to think about whether I wanted to pursue online content or one of the other dozen options I found.
I was in the early research phase of MY (buyer) journey but their sales processes moved me through to their closing phase.
I wasn’t invested in making a decision when I reached out. I was invested in answering my questions to make future decisions that likely had little to do with their product/service. A demo and pitch were gateways to getting the information I wanted. Not necessarily buying signals to purchase.
If you’re hearing, “Let me think about it” frequently, you’re likely missing steps in your sales process.
The examples above happen all the time. I backed away from their close with “I need to think about it” because I needed to process cost versus my expectations or because I needed to consider MY path, not their product.
Look into your sales process to make sure it matches how your buyers GO TO MARKET TO BUY, not just how YOU SELL.
Make sure you’re taking enough time to ask questions that are helpful to you so that you can be most helpful to your prospect.
- Do you understand what your buyer is trying to understand or comprehend through their process?
- Do you know what’s driving their decision-making process, what could hold them up or accelerate decisions?
- What are their steps to moving forward?
- What are their decision-making criteria?
- Who is impacted by making or NOT making the decision?
- How would things change if they move forward?
Ideally, you’re moving along WITH your prospect towards the conclusion of purchase. AND, be sure to not pitch or propose too soon – even if the buyer asks for it (here’s an example of how to handle that in this blog post).
Once you’re in the “Let me think about it” stage – it’s like being stuck in the “friend zone” where all romantic conclusions are pretty much dead.
Instead of focusing on how to combat that response, focus on what got you there and work to AVOID the situation instead of having to HANDLE it.
Try moving a little slower, asking better questions, and understanding why and what they’re there to accomplish before you pitch or propose and end up in the dreaded Sales Limbo.
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!