The best way to handle any objection—especially the "I want to think about it" non-committal, amorphous rejection—is to not get it at all
(That's why I created the Sales Agenda handout for you. You can get it for free via that link.)
But despite the best-laid plans and preparation, this objection will creep up from time to time.
What I've learned over the years is that you get this "I want to think about it" objection for one of two reasons:
- The prospect really is interested but is a slow decision maker and the way they process information and make buying decisions is to "sleep on it" or continue doing research or delay things until they are forced into a choice, i.e. their car breaks down on the side of the road or their computer won't boot up the morning of their big event, etc. (If you let that happen you are hurting not only your own bottom line but their peace of mind and maybe even their safety, depending upon what you're selling.)
- They do not want to buy from you but they don't want to hurt your feelings or get into a long, drawn-out, high pressure closing situation. (They're just being polite.)
As a professional sales person you must realize what it means to Make Every Sale. In every sales situation there is a bit of tension, which is a good thing.
Average sales people allow the prospect to keep their guard up and keep you at arm's length so as to protect their buying power and not make a wasteful decision.
Meanwhile, the typical sales person is "on the prowl," stalking the prospect, moving towards them like a lion stalks its prey.
(I embedded this video for a couple of reasons. One, we all know what a lion stalking its prey looks like and it's too graphic to post here. Two, see how this buffalo turns the tables on the lion. This is like your prospect telling you "I want to think about it." Continue reading to see how to remain in control of the sales situation.)
One way to handle it...
was taught to me by none other than the great Tom Hopkins (Hear his interview on The Sales Podcast).
Tom's book, How To Master The Art of Selling, should be on your bookshelf and his teachings in your brain.
But in a nutshell, Tom Hopkins would say something along the lines of
I completely understand. That's a normal thing to do.
And you're not just saying that to get out of here, right? This is an important decision and you're going to spend time thinking about it right? (They reply with "Oh sure. Oh yes.")
Now just for my own clarification and understanding, what part of this offer/proposal will you be thinking about the most?
Is it the (insert feature such as "our industry-leading warranty and service?" / "delivery and installation?" / "our certifications?" / "our training and support?" (You ask questions you know they already love so you can finally ask...)
Mr. Prospect, since you're comfortable with all of those components of our offering, is it safe to assume what you really need to think over is the price?"
Address the elephant in the room and get down to what they're really concerned about.
Another way to address this same stall is
I appreciate that, Mr. Prospect.
It's a big decision, isn't it?
And I'd like to apologize for wasting your time up until this point.
You see, I'm an expert at what I do but for whatever reason I haven't provided you with a clear path to follow because when I hear "I want to think about it," what that means is that you are still unsure.
On my website I have a list of not only the 10 FAQs but also 10 SAQs—Should Ask Questions.
The SAQs are where the real decision is made.
I have those 10 SAQs right here in this handout.
May we spend a few minutes reviewing these SAQs to make sure we've covered all of the critical points to help you make a final decision once and or all?"
If your prospect is not comfortable making a decision IT'S YOUR OWN FAULT!
As Zig Ziglar always said,
Selling is the transfer of a feeling, and that feeling is confidence."
By apologizing you are showing that you are human.
By mentioning the SAQ it will get the serious prospect curious, which is all we want.
We want to be in front of qualified buyers that want to know how we can help them.
Another, much more direct way, to handle this is to simply state...
Ms. Prospect, when I hear "I'd like to think it over" what that typically means is you made up your mind but you don't want to say "no" to my face. Have you decided against doing business with us?"
Be careful with this one.
Only use this when you are pretty sure it's a lost cause and you just want to get closure.
However, it is a mild form of the old school "takeaway close," that does still work and does still have its place in limited situations.
Keep in mind, you're not aggressive or condescending in your speech or approach in any of these replies. Always be sincere, open to feedback, ask questions to clarify everyone's understanding and listen to understand rather than to collect information "that can and will be used against you in a court of sales!"
HOWEVER, recognize that all three of these responses are just that, REACTIONS to a situation that you allowed to get out of hand.
To prevent that from happening in the first place, have and follow a mutually-agreed upon agenda for your meetings to remove any doubt as to how the meeting will be conducted, who will be asking the questions, and what the next steps are and when.
Want to see the sales agenda I use?
Following that sales agenda enabled me to become a professional sales person instead of a busy / active / hustling / smiling-and-dialing / throw-enough-sh*t-against-the-wall sales person.
Just click here if you'd like to be more of the former rather than the latter.
And DO NOT look up the video of Cheryl Ladd singing "Think It Over."
Just keep that happy image you have of her from "Charlie's Angels."
Watching her video is akin to an 8-year old being told there is no Santa Clause. :-( (The sacrifices I make to help you grow your sales!)
Now go sell something.