How comfortable are you, on a scale of 1 to 10, when a prospect tells you “Let me think it over?”
If you answered anything other than a 1, there could be a problem. You may want to consider implementing a classic Sandler selling rule: “A decision not to make a decision is a decision.”
Think about it. If we’re completely okay with a prospect telling us, “I need to think this over,” or “You’re close, but we need some time to evaluate,” or “We’ll let you know” – what does that really say about us as sales professionals?
Here’s what it says: We’ve bought into the myth that a “maybe” is somehow better than a “no.” And you know what? It isn’t.
“Yes” is great. “No” is second best. And “I want to think it over” or “Maybe” is the worst thing you can hear. As a matter of fact, a buyer saying any form of “Maybe” is actually your biggest competitor. You read right: Your #1 competitor is not the firm down the road. It’s people not being straight with you, people giving you an answer that isn’t an answer at all, people trying to kick the can down the road.
Why is that your true competition? Because time is your most precious resource. Time is the critical commodity, the one resource you always have a professional obligation to defend…because it is impossible to replace.
As a professional, you deserve to spend most or all your precious selling time on opportunities that are in the “willing and able” category. And you deserve to spend little or none of your time on opportunities that really aren’t opportunities at all.
Sure, when you get a lot of TIOs (think-it-overs), you may think it looks good. You may think all those “pending” deals make conversations with your sales manager easier. But do they really? The cold, hard, fact of the matter is that you are going to be wasting a lot of time – time that you could be using to start new conversations with people who really are interested in talking about the possibility of working together.
The Truth Business
So here is the bottom line. You are in the truth business. You are in the what’s-really-going-on-here business. You are in the let’s-put-the-cards-on-the-table business. That means you can call time out any time you want and ask yourself: What would happen if I did a tactful little reality check the next time I get a TIO . . .and then, if I’m still hearing “Maybe” after that reality check, I move on?
In other words: What if you treated “no decision” like what it really is: a decision not to move forward, at least not right now?
When somebody says to you, “Hey, I want to think it over,” you’re pretty safe in assuming that they probably just made a decision. Now it’s up to you to decide: how are you going to respond?
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