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Responding to Clients Who Need to Think it Over

Posted by IndustrySelect on Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Graphic for when prospects want more time to think a proposal over

Common B2B Sales Objections and How to Overcome Them: Part Two


It’s nearly the end of the quarter, you’re ready to close some deals and finish strong. You’ve got a call scheduled with your star prospect – you know, the one who you’ve talked to so often you feel like a member of the family? You’re sure her response will be a resounding “Yes, sign me up!” But instead you get:

"Uh...yeah, that all sounds good. Can I just have some time to think it over?"

If you're a salesperson - no matter how good you are - you've heard a client say some variation of that question before, and with manufacturers contending with historic supply chain and labor challenges right now, you’re probably hearing this common sales objection more than ever. Dealing with prospects who need to "think it over" can be frustrating, but it doesn't have to mean a lost sale if you handle it correctly.

You can overcome this hurdle next time it pops up during your sales pitch by reinventing how you approach this vague response.

Do Prospects Ever Really Need to "Think it Over?"

A lot of salespeople assume that "think it over" is just another way for prospects to say, "no, thanks." It's an idea pushed by marketing gurus - "If your client says they have to think it over, what they really need is just a little extra push."

That's not always true. Sometimes, prospects really do need to think an offer over.

If you're a salesperson in the manufacturing market, chances are, your prospects are making high-value purchases. Oftentimes, they're also making high-risk investments. For less enthusiastic or more thoughtful buyers, every investment is worth thinking about - even one they're sure they'll make.

It's also important to note just how many decision-makers are involved in B2B sales. The average B2B buying group contains seven stakeholders. That's seven people who all need to sign off on the purchase. If one of them isn't able to make your sales pitch or one of them has reservations, then yes, your prospects probably really do have to "think about it" and make sure everyone agrees with the final decision.

There are plenty of valid reasons for prospects to not immediately bite the bullet at the end of a sales pitch. How you handle clients who ask you for more time will be the differentiator in your success.

How to Approach Clients Who Need to "Think it Over"

There are a few practical ways you can end sales pitches when prospects want some more time3:

• Ask them what's holding up their decision. It may be installation procedures, cost or any other number of factors. At best, asking clients to specify their worries will allow you to address those concerns and close the deal. At worst, you can better understand their position and start thinking about negotiations.

• Ask whether they're afraid to let you down. If your prospect is using "I need more time" to let you down more easily, you deserve to know they're not worth a follow-up. Being candid will save the time of all parties involved.

• Ask for the next steps. Let them know you're changing the sales status to "pending." Set a follow-up date, and let them know you'll close the case if they respond by that day. This forces everyone to get on the same page and increases the chances of closing the deal if they really are just unsure in the moment.

• If you're dealing with a buying group, ask whether you're dealing with stakeholder conflicts. As stated earlier, a buying group will frequently need to "think an option over" to give the group more time to wrangle the support of some key stakeholders. Ask your primary contact whether there are any unsure members of the buying group. If you find out which stakeholders are holding out on you, you can either ask them for their concerns directly or research them further to understand their needs.

With a little understanding and strategizing, "I need to think about it" doesn't have to be the phrase killing your sales pitch. Employing the right sales techniques can allow you to address or circumvent such objections, enabling you to close deals more efficiently.

When Clients Need More Time

Sometimes, you've just got to give you clients time. In that event, it helps to have a steady stream of sales leads so that you can work fresh prospects while others go through the decision-making process.

If you're a sales leader or marketer looking to reach decision-makers in the U.S. manufacturing and energy industry sectors, we can help. IndustrySelect provides clients with customizable data for potential leads in the industrial world.

Get instant access to IndustrySelect's database of 500,000 industrial businesses and one million executives in the U.S. manufacturing and global energy sectors. Drill down to the data you need using up to 30 specific criteria points. Data is collected and verified by MNI's 80-person research team, so you're always working with updated data.

To learn more about how you can use IndustrySelect to generate reliable leads for your company, visit our website to try out a free demo.

Want to know more on how to handle some other common sales objections in B2B? Read more in this series:

How to Engage Unresponsive B2B Sales Prospects
How to Respond When B2B Sales Prospects Say They'll Get Back to You
How to Respond to B2B Prospects Who Say They Need to Do More Research

See more from Dan Lok in the video below or see our free online sales training videos!

 Editor's note: A version of this post was originally published in February 2020. 

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