The Biggest Mistake In Selling!

Some trainers and sales managers teach that there are prospects that just need a little more time in the decision-making process. They explain that a decision-maker's stall is not always a put off and they just need to think a bit more about their decision, or that they have to sell the idea to someone else. Therefore, many sales and service industry professionals accept the stall, "I've got to think about it." at face value, believing that a buyer truly has an interest in what they are selling and just needs more time to think about the benefits of the offer. However, in their hearts many sales professionals know better, but hope usually wins out in the end and they accept the stalling tactic of a prospect as truth and continue to work with them for many weeks or months in the delusion that something positive will come from their persistence.

As many seasoned sales professionals know, 90 to 95 percent of the time when you hear a decision-maker say, ''I've got to think it over," it's not a stalling tactic at all, but simply a polite way of telling you "no." To reduce the number of polite "turn downs," as you close your presentations; from this point forward, make certain that you give the decision-maker permission to tell you "no." This technique will reduce tension in the transaction and encourage candor as you search to find the reason a buyer initially decided to meet with you. (Logic suggests that if you are able to discuss your product or service at any length, there is a good possibility that your prospect has a need.) To give permission to a decision-maker to tell you "no," just say something like this:

"John, if what I propose today will not work for you or your company (firm), please tell me, so that we don't drag this transaction out over an additional meeting or two. I don t want you to tell me 'no,' but I also don't want to keep bugging you, if what I've shown you will not work for you or your organization."

By giving your prospect permission to tell you "no," you take most of the tension and pressure out of your closing, creating a climate where candor and openness prevail. This climate will help you to discover the true feelings of your prospect about your products or services as you probe to find a prospect's needs.

Whenever you hear the words, "I've got to think it over," you are receiving an objection. Stalls like this and objections need to be isolated in a sales transaction to make certain that you have covered each of the issues or concerns of your prospect, customer or client. For most objections you can just ask, "If it weren't for this issue or problem, is there anything else keeping you from purchasing today?" However, to isolate the objection, "I've got to think more about this." just ask the following questions to help put the "I've got to think it over." stall into some perspective:

1. Are you still having problems with our pricing?

2. Do you have a problem with the integrity of the company (firm)?

3. Have I said or done anything to keep you from purchasing today?

After asking these three questions, just wait until the decision-maker tells you why he can't purchase or won't sign with you. By asking the questions listed here, in most transactions you'll learn exactly where you stand to know if you truly are working with the decision-maker and there is an interest in completing the transaction. For a proven system that eliminates most stalls, check out my selling skills manual at: or the sales tools at:

Here's wishing you every success in your sales activities!

VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge®, Inc. a firm specializing in sales, customer relations, tradeshows and management training and development. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Deloitte & Touché, Bank One, Jefferson Wells, and Wal-Mart to name a few. Virden is the author of Prospecting: The Key To Sales Success and the best selling Building & Closing the Sale, Fifty-Minute series books and Close That Sale, a video/audio tape series published by Thompson Learning. He has also authored a Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching & team development, telemarketing, and personal productivity training guides. Check them out at:

Vi rden teaches for the Center For Professional Development, Texas Tech University at Lubbock, Texas and in the School Of Entrepreneurship, J. Willard And Alice S. Marriott School Of Management at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah. You can contact Virden at: [email protected]. or learn more about him at:

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