As a seller, I can think of few phrases that I hate more than “let me think about it.” Their are clearly more heart breakers:
– We are just gathering information now, so we will get back to you when we are ready.
– We need to meet with a few other organizations before we make our final decision.
– We need to discuss it internally.
– We are going through some changes, so I need to get confirmation.
– My boss is out sick today.
– Our budgets have changed.
Even writing that is painful. The longer a deal takes to close, the odds of closing drop dramatically. Why is that? The forgetting curve starts:
75% of the information is forgotten within 24 hours,
90% of the inforamtion is forgotten within 30 days
50% of the information they can recall is inaccurate.
Therefore, when you finally connect a month later, they recall only 10% of the information to make a decision with half of it being wrong. Not exactly a winning equation.
We need to face the reality; with most solution selling, few buyers will sign on the spot. Most buyers will need to take the information back and meet with the team. According to an HBR report on B2B selling, 9 out of 10 buyers will seek peer approval before making a decision. Notice they are meeting with peers, not managers for decision approval.
What can you do?
Make sure your solution is KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Even if your selling complex products, they need to sell it to someone. The more convuleted the message and solution, the harder it will be for them to explain later. Think of the game telephone where people are lined up. You tell the first person in a line a sentence. After it goes from person to person, a completely different message is delivered to the last person. Unless you can simplify the solution and communicate an easy value proposition, your sales pitch ends up like the game of telephone.
Ask to walk through the decision making steps. Nicely ask how they work internally to help make decisions. Ask your contact what questions they normally have to answer and offer to create a cheat sheet. Before the conversation ends, schedule a couple of follow up times. If they meet with the team, establish when the team is meeting, ask if they want to meet before to review the solution, the day of or day after the meeting to recap, and schedule a follow up to that meeting. Give your buyer every opportunity to sell it internally and continually provide the value of working with your oganizations. Sometimes your competition is not another organizations, it is your buyers ability to sell it interally. For best impact, before you end your meeting, always sum up and deliver your tagline.