When Buyers Hesitate
You’ve just invested the last 30 minutes of your day with someone who truly needs your service. The conversation has gone well. They’ve given you more than enough information to feel confident you can provide an excellent solution for their challenge. You feel like you’re on a roll. You’ve even discussed their budget and know money isn’t going to hold them back from going ahead..
It began when they explained what they were looking for when you first spoke. They answered all of your questions about their more specific needs. They listened intently to your explanations, and agreed that the solution you offered would suit their needs. Basically, they seemed very involved and moving toward the purchase. Your next thoughts were to getting the confirmation for services. Then, the brakes went on. They just stopped. They started hedging, asking questions you had already answered and backtracking from what they said. What happened? Something perfectly normal.
Few people get so excited about a service that they just whip out their check books or credit cards and say, “Let me have it!” Yes. It does happen at times and with certain services due to immediate need. However, it’s not the typical situation you’ll encounter. This is where selling skills come into play above and beyond order-taking skills.
When people get excited about beginning something new, it’s very natural that little voices start talking in their heads. I don’t mean that they have any kind of mental issues. They’re just typical second-thoughts. They’ve been told ever since they were little to “think twice before making decisions.” “Never sign on the dotted line unless you’re absolutely sure of what you’re getting into.” They might even flash back to a bad past experience when they made a poor buying decision and lost either money or face. When that happens, they have nasty old Mr. Fear creep into their psyches and cause them to freeze like deer in the headlights, not knowing what to do or where to go.
Their hesitation might turn into an outright objection to your services. This may seem irrational to you since they were so excited about it a moment ago. Oh, now, we’re getting close to the real answer. Rational vs. irrational. Emotion vs. logic. Buying is not something that’s done logically. It is an emotional decision that is made, then rationalized. When the brakes come on, all that’s happened is that the rationalization hasn’t happened. It’s your job to help them rationalize their decision to use your services.
“John, you mentioned that you rarely use staffing services so don’t have a lot of experience with them. Let me assure you that anyone we send to work inside your company will have a complete background check as well as testing in exactly the software programs you need them to use.”
The rationalization may be that the amount of money you are asking for your service equals or outweighs the discomfort they’re feeling by not having it. In other words, they have to come to terms with feeling better with the solution than with having the money in their bank accounts. People are very emotionally tied to their money. It may be the strongest bond other than the deep emotional bond between spouses or parents and children. Rather than psychologically prying the money out of their hands, you must learn to nudge, prod, and lead them to the decision that you and they truly believe is good for them.
How do you do that? Try these two simple lines: “Mary, obviously, you have a reason for hesitating. Would you mind sharing it with me?” If you deliver these two sentences warmly—with sincerity—they’ll tell you exactly why they’re hesitant and you’ll have something to move forward with. It could be a number of things. Usually, it’s the money. Sometimes, it’s an issue with time. They might start thinking they don’t have to make the decision today now that they know the right source for the service they need. They may think twice about the decision and decide to shop around. The point is you can’t address the cause of the hesitation until you know what it is. And that little question will lead you to the answer.
In the case of money being the holdup, try these words, “Mary, our service may be a little less economical than some of the other staffing firms. Please realize that it’s not always wise to guide buying decisions by price alone. While it’s never recommended to invest too much for something, investing too little has its drawbacks. By saving a few dollars with another firm you may not receive the satisfaction you need and deserve. In considering a less expensive service, it might be wise to add a little to your investment to cover the risk you’re taking, wouldn’t it?If you agree with me on this point and are willing and able to invest a little more, why not go with a superior service? After all the inconveniences of an inferior service are difficult to forget (or in some cases recover from). When you receive the benefit and satisfaction of our superior service, the investment, no matter how much, will soon be forgotten.”
Using those words, you take the emphasis off the money and put it on “satisfaction,” which is really what most people are after when they contact your company.