Managing client hesitation and client objections during a sales call can be difficult. Especially when you get caught off guard by a question or objection you don’t know how to respond to.
When you get on a call with a prospect for the first time, what should you be focused on? Most people hesitate during a sales call because they don’t have a game plan. And when you go into a meeting without a plan, you are going to get pushed around.
Knowing ahead of time what information you should get out of the prospect, will help you answer objections and close the deal. If you’re having trouble managing client hesitation during a sales call, here are some of the most effective techniques I’ve used to close 6, 7 and even 8 figure deals.
Pre-Influence Your Prospects Before You Even See Them
Before you and your prospect even hop on a call, your prospect should already have gone through the first step of the sales process: Pre-influence. This is the work that is done before the call even takes place, that provides a bit of information to your prospect about who you are and what your credibility is.
Imagine that you were going to have a meeting with the President of your country. You would probably take the time to dress in your best outfit, groom and prepare for the meeting. Why? Because it’s the President – someone who you would perceive is an important authority figure. Pre-influencing your prospect has the same effect – your prospect will see you as someone who is of importance. And when you can influence your prospect to see you as someone important, your chances of getting them to trust you and close the deal increase dramatically.
To pre-influence your prospects, you need a way where they can find out that information. It could be a website that has your company information on it. Or some sales material that you send to them beforehand. Your goal is to let them paint an image of how they perceive you, so when you two finally meet they will take you seriously.
When you don’t pre-influence your prospect, you will be met with much more resistance. They don’t know who you are and why you are important. They also have no reason to listen to what you have to say. The time you spend during the meeting – where you are supposed to be trying to get them to tell you their needs, is instead going to be spent telling them about you.The sales meeting should be about them, not you. Click To Tweet
The Words You Use Can Change The Dynamic Of The Meeting
When you talk to your prospect, how do you set up the meeting? Do you call it a sales call, and put the image of a pushy salesman in their minds? Or do you use more eloquent and more subtle terminology, such as a consultation call or strategy session?
Don’t call it a sales call or a sales pitch. The language you use is going to influence how the prospect views the meeting. If you use the word ‘sales call’, you are going to make your prospect think that you have something to sell to them.
People don’t like to be sold to, so this will immediately trigger red flags, and make your prospect wary of you.
On the other hand, terms like ‘consultation call’ or ‘strategy session’, implies that there is something in it for the prospect. In industry, it’s very common for consultants to charge money to their clients for a consultation or strategy session. You could technically charge around $200 for a consultation call, and even $500 for a strategy session. However, the prospect is going to go into it thinking you two are having such a valuable meeting for FREE. Instantly, you’re catering to what’s in it for them, and even implying that the meeting has a dollar value assigned to it, making it even more valuable.
You are consulting with them and providing them with advice, or planning out a strategy together on how you can provide them with value. Remember that everyone on this planet is tuned into the radio station WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? Show your prospect the benefits of working with you, and they will be more than eager to hear what you have to say.
Managing Client Hesitation During The Call
“Can I have some time to think about it?”
How many times have you heard this common sales objection? It either means your client is not interested, or is hesitant to say yes.
Managing client hesitation is a very important skill to have when trying to close a prospect on the phone. Humans have a tendency to avoid mistakes if possible. And in the case of your client’s hesitation, they are afraid of making a mistake by saying yes.
Your prospect may have had a bad history of dealing with salespeople. They could have regretted making an expensive purchase in the past. Or were pressured into making a decision on the spot by a pushy salesperson. Your job as the closer, is to help them alleviate these fears and doubts. If you can do that, you can get them to say yes and close the deal.
So how do you go about managing client hesitation during a sales meeting? There are 3 key things you need to be aware of:
- State of the Prospect
Having confidence will greatly increase your chances of closing the deal. Your prospect looks up to you, and sees you as an authority figure. They respect your expertise and the results you’ve gotten for past clients. As the closer, you need to project confidence.
If your prospect is hesitant to say yes, it means they lack confidence in themselves to make a decision. Show your prospect that you are confident in your product or service, and influence them that they are making the right choice.
In times of desperation, people naturally look towards the person who is projecting confidence. Even though that confidence may be feigned, it still inspires others to follow in their footsteps. This is how great leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Abraham Lincoln became leaders and started revolutions. Their confidence inspired others to rally to their cause, and do the same.
A hesitant prospect is a desperate prospect. They are stuck between saying yes to your offer, or rejecting it with the fear of offending you. Be confident in the way you speak, move, and maintain eye contact to put your prospect at ease.
In any sales meeting, there will always be objections. How you deal with those objections, determines whether or not you’ll be able to lead your prospect to a close.
Think of your prospect’s objections as a checklist of things that must be solved before they say yes. As a closer, if you can solve every objection they throw at you, they have no reason to say no to you. And the only answer they have left, is to say yes.
To do this, treat your prospect’s objections as hints to how you can close them. For example, if your prospect says something like “How can you guarantee this will work for me”, your prospect is afraid of failure. If they say “It’s a bit expensive”, it could mean they are having cash flow problems at the moment. Objections are not obstacles in a sales conversation – they are the stepping stones that will guide you to closing the deal.
The best way to handle any objection is to ask them questions. Asking the right questions allows you to redirect the conversation and understand what’s really stopping them from saying yes. In fact, research shows that only 13% of customers believe a salesperson can understand their needs.
Here’s an example of how to handle an objection:
“How can you guarantee this will work for me?”
“That’s a good question. What’s your definition of having it work for you?”
“If I am spending $1,000 on this program, I want to be able to make my money back.”
“Would you say making a return on your investment is important for any course that you would invest money into?”
“Yes that is correct.”
Now, the prospect feels you understand the reason behind what’s holding them back. Asking the right questions also gives you hints toward the objection you have to solve next: How will you make sure they get a positive ROI?
3. State of the Prospect
As the sales conversation progresses and you continually handle the objections your prospect throws at you, the ‘state’ of the conversation and the state of the prospect will change. Their objections will begin to be less objective in nature, and stem more from curiosity.
Some examples of questions that imply the prospect is getting closer and closer to saying yes, are if they ask about any of the following:
- Timeframe of your product/service
- How your product works
- Negotiating terms or conditions
- If you can provide a guarantee
When you sense that your prospect’s objections have been answered and they are ready to say yes, close the deal.
The mistake most salespeople make is that they keep talking when the prospect is already ready to buy. As a result, they chase away the customer because they aren’t able to sense the state of the prospect and conversation. If they’re getting curious about what you can do for them, they’re very close to saying yes.
Don’t Be A Flea Market Salesperson
I know salespeople that rush the conversation when their prospect says they aren’t ready, and it is the worst thing you can do. Being pushy with your client is the fastest way to bomb a deal.
Prospect: “Oh… I’m not quite ready to make a decision yet.”
Salesperson: “Why are you not ready? What’s wrong with you man? Don’t you know this is important?”
If you’ve ever been to a flea market, you may be familiar with how they conduct business. Recently, I was at a flea market and was browsing one of the stalls. Running the stall was this small, elderly Chinese lady who I’ll never forget. She was selling a coat for $50, and I countered her offer by saying I’d buy it for $30. When I began to walk away, this was her response:
Her: “Wait don’t go away!
Why you being so cheap?
Be a man and pay full price!
Do the right thing!”
That’s how flea market experts close. And before you know it, you’re pulling out your wallet and buying it at full price. After all, your manhood is at stake, and that’s priceless.
As a professional closer in a business setting, however, you don’t want to do that when managing client hesitation. You want to lead them to the close, and allow them to feel they are in control of their own decision. What you want to do, is master the consultative selling technique. This is when you ask the prospect lots of questions about their challenges and goals, and make them feel like you’re their trusted adviser.
One of my favorite ways to transition from talking about objections to making them say yes, is to ask them: “Where should we go from here?” This puts the prospect in control and allows them to make the decision for themselves.When the prospect feels they are the ones in control, they are more likely to say yes. Click To Tweet
Putting it all Together: A Live Roleplay
Here’s an example of a roleplay I did live with one of my guests, and the entire sales conversation from beginning to end. Pay attention and watch how I redirect her objections to make her close herself.
Context: Susan sells a program for $1,400 that helps coaches get clients. All but 10 of the remaining spots for her program are filled up, and she is struggling to overcome objections to fill those remaining seats. I play the role of Susan, and she plays the role of one of her prospects.
Sifu: So Susan, from what I’m hearing from you, you’ve just started business, what’s your goal?
Prospect: I really want to get my first 100 customers.
Sifu: I see, why specifically 100 customers?
Prospect: Because then I can leave the full-time job that I’m working at, and pursue my side hustle.
Sifu: How long have you been at your job?
Prospect: One year.
Sifu: *nods head* What’s wrong with your job right now?
Prospect: I hate my boss, my side hustle is my passion and I want to do it full time!
Sifu: I see I see, and how do you think my program could help you?
Prospect: I think you know what you’re talking about… I think the case studies you’ve shown are very relevant to me, and I think you could really help, so I’m really interested to know more…
Sifu: But not interested enough to take action now, is that correct?
Prospect: Yes, I’m not quite ready to make a decision just yet.
Sifu: What’s stopping you?
Prospect: I don’t have the time, and I’ve already signed up for two courses before that I didn’t end up completing.
Sifu: So you’ve invested in courses before that are perfectly good, but somehow you can’t fully utilize them. I understand, it may not be the right time. Just before we get off the phone, how do you think this is going to be different – let’s just pretend that you do invest $1,400 in this program, how is this time going to be different from everything else you’ve done?
Prospect: I think it would be different because you force me to have accountability every week, so you basically force me to complete the lessons.
Sifu: Is accountability important to you?
Prospect: Yea, I need accountability!
Sifu: Okay, what else?
Prospect: Umm… I need someone to review my work so I know I’m actually making progress.
Sifu: Okay, you need someone to keep you accountable and someone to review your work – what else?
Prospect: It’s important that I make that $1,400 back as well.
Sifu: You mean you’d have to generate a $1,400 return on investment. Sure, and in what time frame did you have in mind, because you know I can’t promise you you’re going to get it back in one day, and I don’t know how well you can apply the lessons.
Prospect: I think, within 4 months I’d like to get it back
Sifu: Okay, so since you’re thinking about a 4 month time frame – and I’m not making any promises – but let’s say if I were to break that payment into monthly installments… so let’s say around $300 a month, and you can learn what you need to learn in the first few modules itself and implement it right away to get some results, would spreading it out over 4 months be helpful for you?
Prospect: Yea, that would definitely be helpful!
Sifu: So what should we do?
Prospect: Yea let’s do that, and can I get a discount on that as well?
Sifu: What kind of discount – you mean on the payment plan? Well I mean it’s already a discount…
Right? I don’t know, I mean, Susan are we talking about value or are we talking about the discount here?
Prospect: Value definitely.
Sifu: So if the program works, it generates $1,400 for you in the first four months – and you can keep using what you’ve learned for the rest of your life, does it really matter if it’s $1,400 or $14,000?
Prospect: No, no I guess it doesn’t.
Sifu: So what should we do from here?
Prospect: Let’s sign up.
Sifu: I’m sorry, could you repeat that?
Prospect: Let’s sign up!
*End of roleplay*
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Managing client hesitation is all about knowing what your prospect wants and being confident in how you communicate.
If you are struggling to respond to prospect objections, think of them as hints to what problems you need to solve in order to lead your prospect to the close. Ask questions to understand where your prospect is coming from, and how you can help them overcome their doubts and fears. If you do it properly, your prospect will be left with no other choice than to say yes.
If you’re looking for more tips on how to get over troublesome objections, or want to learn more in-depth techniques on managing client hesitation, click here to get my perfect closing collection for FREE.