Let me think about it
Three ways to handle a classic objection
by Jim Domanski
What would selling be like without a daily dose of "Let me think about it?" Probably a whole lot easier and a whole lot less frustrating. But since the objection isn't going to go away any time soon, perhaps now is a good time to look at some ways to tackle it.
Is it Real?
When a prospect says, "Let me think about it," is he or she telling the truth? Let's face it, some prospects toss out this classic objection because they simply want to get rid of you. They say it not because they mean it but because it is a polite method of getting you off the line. The trouble is, if you are not savvy to this brush off, you can waste a lot of time and energy following up with e-mails and phone calls.
On the other hand, some prospects really DO need time to think about it. Some need time to ponder their options while others like to simply digest the information to ensure that they do not make a snap decision. The trouble here is that if you are a cynical sales rep who has heard the objection time and time again, you may not take the prospect seriously and fail to follow up and hence, lose the opportunity.
So how do you tackle this devilish objection? Here are three approaches.
No. 1: Say Nothing
I love this one, particularly if you are dealing with a prospect over the phone. Here's how it works: when they tell you they want to think about it, say nothing.
That's all there is to it. Just wait patiently.
Silence over the telephone creates a vacuum and most people get uncomfortable with the silence. After two or three or four seconds, most people feel the compelling need to fill the void with words.
You will be absolutely amazed at how well this technique works as long as you can discipline yourself to hold your tongue for a few seconds. Typically, the client will elaborate on the "let me think about it" objection and this often uncovers the real objection. For example, they might explain that they have to speak to their boss or their partner. Suddenly you discover another player in the game. They may reveal that they are looking at other proposals and now you know you are in a competitive situation. Or they may simply not be interested at all. In any event, you have more information upon which to base your next step.
No. 2: Give Them the Time and Get a Commitment
Another approach is to grant them the time but put a time limit on their pondering. It looks something like this:
Prospect: "Well, let me think about it."
Rep: "I understand completely, Mr. Thomas. A decision like this needs some time. And what I would like to recommend is that I give you a call next week to get your thoughts and to determine the next steps. How does Wednesday at 8:45 look on your calendar?"
If the prospect accepts the recommendation, the objection is probably legitimate. The client needs time for whatever reason. You know this because she has agreed to a specific time and date. It shows commitment. Again, the key is to not only get a follow up date but also a specific time.
This approach is very non-threatening and is perfect for prospects who legitimately want more time. They will appreciate your courtesy and understanding. That's why you deliberately empathize with the prospect by saying you "understand." These types of prospects don't like being cajoled or pressured. If you push too hard, they will say no to your offer because they don't like you and your aggressive approach. Your offer could be extremely valuable and well priced but these prospects value trust and relationship more.
If the prospect balks at your first suggestion, try another date and time and see if they positively respond. If they balk again, ask when would be a good time and date. If they cannot make a commitment chances are they are brushing you off and your time is probably better spent elsewhere.
No. 3: Probe for LegitimacyI borrowed this approach from sales trainer Brian Jeffrey (visit: www.salesforcetraining.com). His approach is to first empathize with the prospect and then to go on and question to determine if the objection is legitimate or a smokescreen.
Prospect: "Hmmmm. Let me think about it."
Rep: "I understand completely. If I were in your shoes I'd want to think about it as well.May I ask what concerns you still have? Or
"May I ask what's causing you to hesitate?" or
"May I ask what questions I've left unanswered?" or
"May I ask what your final decision will be based on?"
Needless to say, this type of probing gets the prospect to open up and to help you determine if the objection is real or otherwise.
The next time a prospect says he would like to think about it, think about one of these three approaches. Give it a try and tell me what you think.
Since 1991, Jim Domanski is the President of Teleconcepts Consulting Inc. and works with companies and individuals who are frustrated with the results they have been getting when using the telephone to generate leads and sales. For more information visit: www.teleconceptsconsulting.com or call 613 591 1998.