This week I received a voice mail message from a professional sales trainer (at another firm).  He wanted me to know that he used my technique for handling a think it over on his four most recent opportunities and it had worked on 3 out of the four.  Before we get to the technique or lessons you should know this.  It’s never the technique that actually overcomes a think it over, rather, it’s the technique that provides you with a crutch to hang in long enough so that you can learn why your prospect hasn’t made a decision yet.  Once you know why, you can ask questions, eliminate obstacles, fears, and misunderstandings, and close again.

There are a number of lessons that you can take away from this and here are some of them:

  1. Prospects are always bluffing and testing.  If 3 out of the 4 said they had to think it over and the technique was strong enough to get them to make a decision, then they really didn’t have to think it over, did they?
  2. What are the chances that those three opportunities would have closed a day later, a week later, a month later or more if they didn’t close at the first opportunity?  The chances of closing decrease in direct disproportion to the amount of time that passes.
  3. If a professional sales trainer can pick up new techniques, use them and have success with them, can’t you?
  4. If the sales trainer had to use those techniques for handling a think it over, he did something wrong earlier in the process.  Remember, my think it over techniques bail you out of trouble, they aren’t where you are supposed to end up! Sounds like our expert must have missed something on the way to 3rd base.
  5. How often do you take a think it over without making every effort to get the business closed?  Does your Need for Approval get in the way?  His didn’t.  Does your own need to think things over get in the way?  His didn’t.

If you aren’t familiar with the terms, concepts or techniques I’m writing about, click on the image to the right to order Baseline Selling!

You only get one optimal closing opportunity in any given sales cycle.  You must get the business closed at that time or one of five things will happen:

  1. you provide your competition an additional chance to get it closed;
  2. the delay allows your prospect to focus on other important issues, pushing your decision to the back-burner;
  3. you’ll get frustrated and blow the opportunity up;
  4. you’ll get frustrated an annoy the your prospect to the point where your prospect blows the opportunity up;
  5. you’ll get frustrated and give up;
  6. your prospect will put the opportunity off indefinitely;
  7. your prospect will modify the opportunity – it shrinks;
  8. you continue to keep this opportunity in your pipeline and nothing happens;
  9. your prospect tells you that he can’t afford it;
  10. your prospect eventually buys from you.

At best, if you don’t close at your optimal closing opportunity, you have a 10% chance of getting it closed later.

What did you learn?  Email your comments to me.