Prospects Delay Decisions

We thought it might be helpful to re-visit this topic.  Watch out for some radical ideas.

Prospects delay their buying decisions – a natural law?  It happens just about 100% of the time.  We really wish things were different but in our experience, the sales process gets stalled for a variety of reasons – here are some you may have heard:

“We’re not that dissatisfied with our current arrangements”

“We need to think about it”

“The timing is just not right”

What about FEAR factor?  What about the prospect’s fear of change and their aim of managing the perceived risk inherent in buying from you?

  • The risk that something may go wrong.
  • The risk of change and the possibility of future criticism.
  • That ROI expectation?
  • Are you really the right solution?
  • Can you really help achieve our objectives?
  • Can I trust you?

We’ve been suggesting a somewhat radical approach – at least some have told us it is radical –here goes:

Tell the prospect that they are going to delay the decision – you can sometimes even add: “…and don’t let us down!”

Follow this up with:

“Here is a listing of the Top Ten reasons why customers do business with us”.

Note from Coach: Please have fourteen reasons listed and add: “…we couldn’t stop at ten!”

(And, here’s the radical part): “Here are the four reasons why you could not do business with our firm”.

That’s right, name the reasons – this is really where their fear resides.

An example may be helpful – In our own case, we’re a small company and, although many times unsaid, there are usually underlying fears like: Can we handle the demands of a large assignment? What if something goes wrong? My nine bosses are going to ask who we used.  How do I answer: “Why didn’t we use a company like Global Unlimited Powerful Powerhouse International (GUPPI) with 500 offices around the globe?”

Our solution to diminish, eliminate or outright overcome their fear is that we:

  1. Name their fears and even put them into the Power Point presentation
  2. Line the fears up one at a time and offer a reasonable response
  3. Offer assurances from a 3rd party (like a happy customer who had the identical fears)
  4. Reinforce the prospect’s objectives that will be achieved by hiring you
  5. Offer to instruct the prospect on how the transition to you will be made – what happens and when. Use of a spreadsheet showing critical activities and timing can be a very powerful instructional tool. Check it out on our website – click on Account Transition


Some additional thoughts:

  • If this approach is too radical for you, is contrary to everything you feel about the proper way to make a sale and your internal dialogue is saying “This is nonsense” – Drop this concept immediately (but please keep reading).
  • As we’ve stated earlier, your sales process never really stands still.  You are either moving towards a close or away from a close at all times.  Is your prospect’s aversion to risk (FEAR) in the way?
  • Prospects have many terrific skills but hiring you is not one of them.  Why is this so?  Here’s one thought – How often does your prospect make a change like the one you are proposing – every three years, five years, ten years, never?  Logic dictates that, as a general rule, the prospect does not typically have enough experience to easily and readily make these hiring and firing decisions.
  • Early in the sales process, make an agreement with your prospect and explain what actions you plan to take if (when) their decision is delayed.  For example, you will be free to contact them often.  Dialogue kind of like this: “I’ll contact you every day until you say ‘yes’.”  This is the Green Eggs and Ham approach.  That’s right, Dr. Seuss’s book of sales – the second most effective sales book on the planet.  Each subsequent contact helps you to determine what is causing the delay, the root cause of their fear and enables you to formulate a response to the buyer’s objections and manage their risk as you continue to move towards a close.

So, before your next prospect delays their decision, (Oh, you have one now?) consider the dialogue, tools, strategies and techniques that will help you influence the decision making process.

And keep in mind that a Sense of Humor is Helpful.

Sales Coach Newsletter is a product of Redmond Group, Inc.  We are specialists in the systematic process of developing and retaining new business.  We design sales and retention process maps and unique measurement tools to track progress to meet business objectives.  We conduct Advanced Sales in-house workshops, webinars supported by individual and sales team coaching.
© Redmond Group, Inc.
World Headquarters:

Redmond Group, Inc., 1450 Garden Street, Suite S 701, Hoboken, NJ 07030