The customer is stalling — what do I say now?
Recently, I received this question from a reader:
Jeffrey, When a client says he or she is “still reviewing their options,” I know you say that’s the result of their inability to see the value in my product or service. But how should I respond to this objection without pushing the customer away? Thanks, Gladys
You are correct that the customer has not seen enough value to select you. And, in fact, I don't believe you are in first position. Otherwise, they would have given you more words of encouragement.
When this or any other stall occurs, you have to be prepared to communicate with the customer on a more direct level, with something that might evoke more truth and more respect.
Before I get down to the specifics, I want to make sure you understand the big picture — the strategy of what to do from 30,000 feet — so you can eventually get down on the ground and get to battle: battle for the order, battle against your competition and battle to gain the customer.
Start your thinking here:
• Ask as much as you dare.
Asking questions allows you to gain information that might lead to a sale much more quickly than giving a sales pitch about why you're the greatest.
• Blame yourself for their indecision.
To the prospective customer you have fallen short of communicating value, even though you’re certain that you’re the best choice. Be prepared with a list of your best value offerings, and ask to meet in person to go over it.
• Get clarity and clarification of the customer’s present status.
When the customer says they’re still considering other options, obviously you need more information in order to determine exactly where you are and exactly what to do next. The only way to get this information is to ask them directly.
• Be certain you're in the top three choices.
If you are not No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3 on the present list of potential vendors, there is no way to even win this business.
• What are the options beyond price that are part of the consideration?
If price is the only option, you need to know that. If there are other elements that are being factored in the sale (terms, split order, speed of delivery, quality of product, reliable service), you need to know that, too.
Now for the nitty-gritty. And keep in mind that the nitty-gritty questions can only be helpful to you if you understand the big picture.
ASK: How will the decision be made?
ASK: Who else are you considering?
ASK: What are the deciding factors?
ASK: What are you hoping for as an outcome?
ASK: What happened the last time you purchased?
ASK: What has the discussion included thus far?
And to further clarify the situation and give you some real reasons behind this stall, it may be that:
- They don't have the money.
- They believe they can get it cheaper someplace else.
- They are looking for convenience, and you may be too far away.
- They do not perceive enough value in your product or service.
- They have a bad past history with you or an existing vendor.
- They are unsettled as they weigh the risk factors.
- They do not have the comfort to move forward.
- They do not like you, have confidence in you, believe in you, or trust you enough to buy from you.
- They have some other unspoken objection.
- They have some other unspoken risk.
- They are unwilling to decide, based on their lack of certainty.
“Still shopping around” or “still reviewing options” is not an objection. It's a stall that means the prospect has not found someone who gives them enough peace of mind, enough value perception and enough confidence to move forward.
And you thought it was all about price. Shame on you!
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of 12 books. His “21.5 Unbreakable Laws of Selling” is available as a book and an online course at gitomerVT.com. For information about training and seminars, visit gitomer.com or email Jeffrey at firstname.lastname@example.org.