“I Need to Think About It” Does Not Mean “No”

“I Need to Think About It” Does Not Mean “No”I was sitting with a client a few months ago and he was sharing how much he’d grown as a salesperson in his business over the past year (he is a solo salesperson). In particular, he was sharing an example of how he’d been meeting with two business partners and he was walking them through an authentic sales conversation (that’s what we call it over here at Sales Coach Now). When they got to the end of the conversation, he was about to ask for their payment information. The conversation came to a cold halt and one of the partners said in a short, gruff tone: “I need to think about it.”

My client said that ordinarily he would have stopped and let the conversation go at that point. He would have walked away and likely would have lost the sale.But this time, he knew better, and he didn’t walk away. He knew the next step.

So he leaned forward, smiled and said, “Tell me more about that” and then didn’t say another word.

Silence filled the air. But my client held tight and waited.

Then it was the other business partner who spoke. Well, rather she blurted out, “He doesn’t want to work with your consultant, he only wants to work with you!”

Ah ha! Objection uncovered. Bingo!

As “luck” would have it, my client was available to work with this prospect and he promptly told them that. He asked them to sign the contract and asked for payment. And just like that, he had a DONE DEAL!

As my client was reflecting on this situation, he said, “Just think of all of the opportunities I have walked away from because I wasn’t willing to ask additional questions.”

Thousands and thousands of dollars …

Here is my question for you: How many opportunities have YOU walked away from because your prospect said that they just “needed to think about it”?

Furthermore, how can you turn “I need to think about it” into a “yes”?

Usually the phrase “I need to think about it” means one of two things: they need more information, or they have a hidden objection. As the salesperson, you need to address those things. Find the hidden objection, and in the process, see what information they still need.

The key to uncovering that hidden objection is to ask more questions. Keep the conversation going until you get a “yes”, a “no”, or a next step with this prospect. When you are asking questions to discover the hidden objection, make your questions open-ended rather than “yes” or “no” questions.This way, your client doesn’t accidentally get in the habit of saying “no”. As they answer your questions, you can decipher the gaps in their knowledge that need to be filled in and clarified.  For example:

  • “I feel like I missed something. Can you please tell me more?”
  • “What would it take for this to be a great fit for you?”
  • “What would make this a “no-brainer” for you?”

Then wait. Be silent. Give them a moment to process, think, and respond. Actively listen to them. Ask clarifying questions if you need to so that they know you are listening. Sometimes, when you allow them to talk, they will arrive at the conclusion that what you are offering is exactly what they need, and they end up selling themselves.

But you need to ask the questions.

Understand this: when your prospect says that they “need to think about it”, it’s your job as the sales person to read between the lines of their words and help them unpack what they are really saying and what they really mean. They are not going to do that job for you. “I need to think about it” is not the same as “no”, so don’t take it that way!

The moral of the story is this: unless they say “no”, the answer should not be assumed as such, nor should that be the end of your interactions with them. Rather, it’s an invitation to dig further and find out what is really going on. Help them navigate the “thinking about it” process and you’ll be surprised at the results you get!

Don’t deny your prospect or client the opportunity to buy from you what they clearly need! “I need to think about it” is not a “no” – so don’t let it be!