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Sales Consulting and Training:

When they Can’t Seem to Get Moving

Stalling Customers

Imagine watching a particularly indecisive customer shopping for a car. This customer wants to test drive every mid-size sedan available on the market… American, German, Japanese… all of them. While he’s at it, he decides it wouldn’t hurt to review the owner’s manuals. After scores of research, he still can’t make up his mind. What if it’s not the right car? Is there a better car out there? Do I really need this car right now? The decision-making process for this type of customer can be exasperating – particularly for the person who is doing the selling!

All of us have dealt with this type of customer. The person simply has a difficult time making a decision. They may feel that they haven’t evaluated enough companies, they aren’t sure if the product is exactly what they need or simply can’t make up their mind. They can be risk-averse and, oftentimes, they suffer a great deal of anxiety in trying to make a decision. So can you!? This can be particularly tough for the sales professional who has to deal with the stalling customer. 

One way to avoid being in this situation is to build up a sufficient level of urgency. Some customers just won’t make their mind quickly and, as surveys have found, often lead sales reps without a sale. They may need a helpful nudge or need to be aware of the limited availability of a product, service, offer or pricing. Stalls can mask some underlying anxiety. As is often the case, questioning can help you determine the root cause of the customer’s indecisiveness.

Customer: “I don’t know… I’ll need to think this over.  I have your information will get back to you.”

Sales Rep: “What is it that you need to think over?”

“Did I not provide what you were looking for?”

“Was there something that needed to be done to make a decision?”

“May I ask what makes you uncertain about the proposal?”

Customer: “I’m not sure that this is exactly what we’re looking for.”

Sales Rep: “I can completely understand your concern.  In fact, we faced the same situation with American Bank and Trust.  They felt the same concern about our ability to follow-through. Yet, they had an opportunity to speak with one of our others customers and found out that our service was truly the best of breed. After the pilot program, they selected us to roll out an initiative on a nationwide basis. Would it help if I had my contact at American Bank and Trust call you to explain the benefit they received in working with us?”

You want to get the customer to keep moving along… don’t let them stall.  If they continue with their stall, the proverbial car battery is dead and they’re 200 miles from the nearest station.  Jump start them and get them back on their way, preferably heading straight towards a decision to work with your company.

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