Sales training: How to respond to "I want to think about it"

July 8, 2015

In any salesperson’s experience, chances are he or she will receive the response from a prospective client of “I want to think about it” in regard to buying your product or service. If this has been you at one point or another, then you are probably very well acquainted with how frustrating the "I want to think about it" response is. The time you spent to tell them about your product and the effort you made to go through the process of explaining and answering any questions seems to be wasted because of a perceived pending “no” answer that underlies the “I want to think about it” answer. Though at times during your conversation with the prospective customer he or she may have seemed to be in positive agreement with you and you may have gotten the impression that the customer would be on board without a doubt.

All this pent up expectation does contribute to the feeling of frustration. A lot of times, when that is the answer, as a salesperson, you are overcome with the frustration which gets in the ability to effectively deal with the situation at hand. The fact that we are human sometimes gets in the way of actually closing the deal on a constructive and potentially good deal. In this case, what you need is a few pointers to point you in the right direction of how exactly you should respond to a seemingly unpromising end of a sales pitch.

- Know the reasons behind the response

Before the end of the sales pitch, you as a salesperson should have a relatively good idea of the answer the prospective client or customer is going to have. During the conversation, you can gauge their level of need for your service or product, their ability to afford it, if they have been looking at other services and so on. Having knowledge about such facts about the potential client puts you on the upper hand. For one reason, knowing the possible reasons behind the answer may enable you to better answer the uncertain response they give. Of the many possible reasons, a few are the most recurring in most cases.

Factors such as indecisive nature of the client or customer, their dislike towards you, their need to find a better deal (likely because your offer has a price that is too high), and perhaps the lack of courage to say "no" to your face. All these are possible reasons behind why a potential customer may tell you that they need more time to think about it. However, sometimes the customer may actually simply need more time to think through your offer for some time before giving you the final decision. In that case, you have nothing to be frustrated about. On the other hand, if the answer is just a mask of underlying doubts about your service or product, you may want to modify your pitch in order to respond more effectively to the client.

Another often overlooked reason for the customer's response is the sales person's approach. Given that the power to influence the decision lays, in large, on your hands, the response you get is also a reflection on your sales approach. If a customer or client seems unsure by the end, chances are you did not touch base very well on creating a genuine connection with them, creating a need for the product, as well as establishing a difference between your product and that of the competition. These are important things to cover on your sales pitch because they give direction to the answer. Knowing that a part of the responsibility lies with you should minimize the frustration of wondering why the indecisive response was given.

- Know how to respond to the answer appropriately

Now that you have the skills and the know how on detecting reasons behind the answer, you can figure out which path best fits. This is important because it allows you to make necessary additions or adjustments to your sales pitch with the customer and also for the future. For starters, keep your frustration in check before engaging further in the conversation with the client. Calm down and restore your balance and figure out the best answer for the particular situation. You can ask them if they have any doubts or questions for you in order to clarify any confusion that may lead them to need time to think through the information. Furthermore, as a last effort, assure them about your product and why it is better than that of competitors.

Before you let them go, however, make sure you have scheduled a call back after some time to confirm about their final decision. While doing all this, be mindful of the customer's decision and respect it. With that, avoid suffocating them with last ditch efforts. Instead, affirm their need of time to think about the matter at hand and be the sales person that allows them to have time. At the end of it all, remind them that you are available for any questions that may come up as they are thinking about it and that you will take time to check back on them after a stipulated time for their final answer.

If you want to be more aggressive in your response, you can simply say, "I understand that you want to think about it. Is there anything in particular that you need to think about where I did not provide you with the information you need to make a buying decision?"

- Always know that prevention is better than cure

This frustrating situation is actually preventable! Yes, preventable. For you as a sales person, your job is to only verbally stipulate what the client perhaps has already read somewhere on the Internet or from others about your company or services or product. For a client, having good information about your service or product from others is an indicator that your product is reliable. This points to the importance of the establishment of a good reputation for the product or service with existing clients and customers as well as in the online world. This pre-existing positive reputation will likely play a role in pushing the prospective client towards a favorable answer.

All this goes towards making your final phone call easier and reduce it to a final push for the prospective client to say yes. As long as you have the correct target group, a good reputation to back your reliability, and a good sales pitch to top it all off, you are one step closet to sealing a good deal.

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