How to take 'think it over' out of action

The one phrase most salespeople and business owners hear in a day is: I’ll think it over. But what does someone’s need to think it over really mean and how can you deal with it effectively?

You too have likely used these words when facing a salesperson. Why did you say them? What did you mean by it at the time?

Why is it that buyers like to think things over? Is it because they:

  • are not interested?
  • want to say no, but don’t want to hurt your feelings?
  • fear you might sell them something you don’t need or want?
  • don’t trust you?
  • like to put things off—procrastinate

Or is it because it is an easy excuse and it worked in the past? And there are other reasons I am sure.

How do you deal with think it over when it’s said to you?

Do you accept it and let the buyers go their way or do you ask for clarification?

The only way you will ever understand what think it over really means is when you ask the buyers to clarify what they said.

If you just accept it, you have lost an opportunity to learn and understand the buyer and their issues. It shows you don’t care and, like Theodore Roosevelt’s quote:

Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

To get to the heart of think it over or other wishy-washy statements you need to question the buyer.

When people say they need to think it over you can easily say: I can understand you wanting to think it over. What is it in particular that you need to think over?

When they say maybe, you can say, maybe meaning?

When they say I will get back to you, you can say, when?

Get the idea?

Wishy-washy words or statements do not contribute to clear communications and only waste time, unless you clarify them as they come up. So, get in the habit of questioning for clarification. Not only does it show you care, but it will help build a trusting relationship built on clear communications.

Now, there is another way to deal with think it over and eliminate it permanently. Once you have established rapport with the buyer, you can set parameters, or ground rules, to deal with think it over.

Setting parameters removes barriers

Setting parameters is a process that eliminates surprises for both parties, enabling you to work toward a clear future. You can set parameters or ground rules based on the buyer’s time and objectives, asking questions, etc.

Now, let’s take it a step closer to the real world of sales. One of the biggest fears buyers have of salespeople is that they are going to sell them something, something they probably don’t want. How do we get around this fear, so that they could let their barriers down, have some fun and be more relaxed and receptive?

Traditional sales training has always told us to go for a “yes.” In sales you know that you cannot satisfy everyone’s needs and that your responsibility is to also reject clients, and that they can also reject you.

As a matter of fact, you are probably getting more no’s than yeses as it is. I hope you accept that fact that a “no” is a positive outcome when you qualify an opportunity. You also know that it takes many no’s to get a yes.

Therefore, let’s take control, change our attitude and go for the opposite. Let’s go for a “no” instead of a “yes.” By doing so, what do you think will happen with the prospective buyer? Do you think their barriers may come down, they may have some fun and that they may be more relaxed and receptive?

Simply say something like:

Salesperson: “Before I get started, John, I don’t know if I can help you or not, as I cannot solve all of the world’s problems. If I feel I cannot help you, is it OK if I tell you No, I can’t? However, if I can, I will tell you Yes, I can.

Can we be honest with each other and work on a no or yes basis, as I don’t want to waste your time? ”

How does this make you feel?

You can also add: “Can we also eliminate things like think it over, which usually means no, and ends up wasting your time?”

Again, be yourself and use your words, not mine. All you want to do is make the buyer feel comfortable with the idea that you may not be able to help them, that you are not there to sell them something they don’t want or need. You are there to ask them questions to determine whether there is a fit or not and if not, you will tell them so, and/or it is OK for them to also tell you no, because you are OK with a no. But, you better be sure your attitude is OK with a no.

You have now set the parameters of working on an honest yes/no basis where think it over, one of a salesperson’s biggest obstacles, no longer exists. The same process can work for you in eliminating common objections, interruptions and all other obstacles that you face in sales interactions or “buyer encounters” as I prefer to call them.