“You did a great job, but I want to think it over.” Every salesperson has heard some version of this dreaded phrase.
“I want to think it over” is one of the worst responses we can receive from a prospect—it’s not a yes, but it’s not a no.
What tends to happen is that most of these wishy-washy sales situations ultimately fall apart. They end up in that “never-neverland” of sales, and we never get full closure.
This can be really frustrating. But what’s amazing is that it’s also really avoidable.
Salespeople can both actively avoid hearing “I want to think it over” in the first place, and also—if they still hear it anyway—they can use information from the prospect to hold the sale together.
In this video, I’m going to show you how to deal with “I want to think it over” in sales. Check it out:
“I Want to Think It Over” Tip #1: Avoid “think it overs” in the first place with value.
When a customer says, “I want to think it over,” in many cases what they’re really saying is, “I haven’t seen enough value from this conversation to feel confident about moving forward right now.”
While we can certainly deal with “think it over” objections once we hear them (more on that later), the most important part of the sale is to actually avoid hearing this phrase in the first place.
Avoidance is always more effective than actually handling that objection. So when you’re in any sales situation, be sure to use a sales process that demonstrates real value.
You can accomplish this by having a thorough discovery conversation to understand the biggest challenges the customer is facing within your area of expertise. Then make sure that you’re getting all of that information out on the table—and that you truly understand the costs of the challenges the customer is facing.
Once you have that insight and information, you have real value to actually present to the prospect. With this approach, prospects are far less likely to ever say, “Let me think it over.”
“I Want to Think It Over” Tip #2: Ask about decision-making up front.
One of the biggest mistakes that salespeople make is failing to discuss the prospect’s decision-making process early on in the sales conversation. Then, when they go for the close, they’re caught completely off guard by some additional steps that the prospect wants to take before making a decision.
We can avoid many “I want to think it overs” simply by having a thorough decision-making conversation earlier on in the sales process. This should happen well before we actually give the presentation—and way before we go for the close.
Commit to having that decision-making conversation up front. Once you do, you can then actively navigate some of those steps to avoid “think it over” situations that hit you over the head like a two-by-four at the close of the sale.
“I Want to Think It Over” Tip #3: Don’t react. Pause.
Let’s say you did a strong job up front and created lots of value for the prospect. You even discussed the decision-making process early on. But the prospect still says, “I want to think it over.”
Don’t react. Pause. Slow it down.
The data shows that many bottom- and average-performing reps react to objections like “think it overs” with long, aggressive monologues—and they react right away, without pausing. What’s more, they keep on talking and talking rather than slowing down the situation.
Top-performing reps, on the other hand, take a pause. In fact, the data shows that top-performing reps pause for around four seconds when they hear an objection like this. So if you hear “I want to think it over,” slow the interaction down.
Don’t react emotionally. Don’t be thrown off by “I want to think it over.” The first step here is to simply pause before you react.
“I Want to Think It Over” Tip #4: Acknowledge with a softener.
When a prospect gives an objection like “I want to think it over,” they’re automatically expecting a salesperson to push back. They’ve been in enough sales situations to know how the conversation usually goes.
What we want to do is actually flip that entire expected interaction on its head. The first thing you should do after you pause is to acknowledge what they said with what I like to call a “softener”—basically a compliment. Simply say something that acknowledges what they just said in a really nice way. Convey to them that you think their objection is reasonable and that it’s OK.
This is going to disarm the prospect—a lot.
A lot of salespeople push back on this, because they don’t want to justify the prospect’s comment or make them think it’s right. But the reality is that the only way to disarm the prospect is to agree with them. Say something like, “Totally fair” or “That completely makes sense to me.” Or you might even say, “I appreciate your saying that. No problem at all.”
It’s just a little softening statement that will allow you to dig into the very last piece—that is, clarifying why they objected—by disarming the prospect and making them feel at ease in the conversation.
“I Want to Think It Over” Tip #5: Clarify their why.
We want to understand why the prospect wants to think it over. Most salespeople are going to push back on “think it overs” with discounted pricing or by saying something really salesy and cheesy like, “Well, I can only hold the pricing for today” or, “I can only give you this great deal for the next few days.”
Prospects see right through that stuff. It’s complete junk—and it’s only going to hurt your sale. Instead of pushing back and trying to force them to close with a sales gimmick, try to understand why they want to think it over in the first place.
This sounds so basic, but it’s actually profound, because most sales reps aren’t doing it. So first you pause, then you soften, and finally you’re going to clarify their why—to really understand why they said it.
It might sound something like this:
Pause. “That totally makes sense. Can you help me understand why you say that?”
Or you might say:
Pause. “Totally fair. Help me understand what your next steps are going to be to figure out whether this is a fit or not.”
Now you’ve taken all the pressure off them. They don’t feel like they’re in a confrontational situation. Give them an opportunity to explain why they want to think it over, and get some clarity into what their next steps might be.
Ask a number of follow-up questions here to really understand what their concerns are. Get all their worries on the table and really isolate them so you can either solve them, or at least hold the sale together with some clear next steps.
So, there you have it. Now you know how to deal with a customer who says “I want to think it over.” Which part of this approach did you find most useful for your own selling strategy? Be sure to share in the comments section to join the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.