While pouring myself a cup of coffee in the break room of a company where I was doing some onsite training, I couldn’t help but overhear two women in a spirited conversation.

“Yeah, he just couldn’t make a commitment.”

“Oh, I hate those kind.”

“What a wimp. Every time I tried to get a definite answer, he would get all wishy-washy with me.”

“I know the type. I’ve had those too.”

“So, whaddja do?”

“I dumped him.”

“Good for you. You can’t waste your time like that.”

A coworker, also overhearing the conversation, teased,

“What’s the matter ladies? Relationship problems?”

“No, bozo. I’m talking about a prospect who kept putting me off. So I finally asked him if he would ever make a decision and he said no. That’s one less prospect I need to chase.”

Wow! Good for her.

You might not close a sale on every customer contact, but if you are continuing to pursue a prospect, you should indeed get some type of commitment every time.

If a prospect suggests they alone won’t or can’t make a decision, or make one now, they might be brushing you off.

If you can’t get a commitment from them, even a minor one, it’s pretty likely they have no intention of ever doing anything. On the other hand, if they are sincere, they’ll have no hesitations about committing to some type of action before the next contact.

For example, consider the scenario where you’ve questioned, made a presentation, and the prospect says, “I really can’t do anything myself. It’s going to be Jan Smith’s decision. I’ll talk to her and get back to you.”

Left at that, you likely wouldn’t get this person’s enthusiastic support. Consequently, Jan wouldn’t do cartwheels upon hearing it either. Instead, to get a commitment from this person you could say,

“Do you personally like the idea?”

“If it were your decision, would you go with it?”

“Would you be comfortable recommending it to Jan before I call?”

Their answer provides your answer regarding whether they’re worth pursuing.

The Future Event Situation
Let’s say the prospect tries putting you off because they’re waiting for a future event.

For example, “We can’t do anything until we get our new computer system.”

To deal with this, first, draw on your logic to discern whether that event should even affect what you sell.

For example, acquiring the new computer system shouldn’t affect the exterior landscape service you provide. You could ask in a justifiably confused way.

“I guess I’m not following you Mr. Prospect. How are those two decisions related?”

Some stallers throw out any excuse–some, absurd–to get salespeople off the phone. Most work quite splendidly because they’re not questioned.

On the other hand, if their future event must precede the purchase of what you sell, you should get commitment he/she will buy from you when that event takes place.

“When you do get your new system installed, can I be the one to provide that maintenance contract?”

“When you do decide to open it up for bids, can I be one of the first to receive the Request for Proposal?” 

“When you do have an overflow situation that requires bringing in temporary help, will you call me to provide those people?”

Be sure they’re not stalling you, and then go for the strongest commitment you can get today which will move you closer to the sale.

Continue having your best week ever!

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Little Things You Can Do That Have Huge Impact and Keep Customers Buying

Customer Service

A few months back I asked for examples of what you do to get through to decision makers. We got some great ideas and best practices and compiled many of those into a free ebook. (Get that here if you haven’t already). Not to be overlooked is how to continue building and strengthening our relationships […]

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What I Learned About Sales on a Houseboat


I recently had an opportunity to really study human interaction. Up close. For an extended period. I was on a houseboat trip to the amazing Lake Powell with about 20 people… young children, teens, millennials, and every age range on up to high-50’s. Some of the people I knew well, others I just met, and made […]

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Donald Trump’s Sales and Success Lessons

Donald Trump Random Rants

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Assume and Ask–Don’t WISH–for the Sale


I’m having some work done on my house and had a contractor come out to do an estimate. The woman asked great questions, took notes, made some recommendations on things I had not thought about, wrote up the estimate on the spot, and just handed the clipboard to me with a pen and said, “You […]

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Responding to “I’m already buying from someone”


An Eloan.com TV commercial showed a real estate agent asking her new homebuyer customers, “So, have you shopped for your mortgage yet?” The wife responded, “Yes, we have a mortgage broker.” The agent’s response:

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What to Do When They are Not The Ultimate Decision Maker

Following Up

A training client emailed me with this scenario. Perhaps you’ve run into something similar. The rep, Kim,  had a prospect, Karen, who agreed that her company should use the sales rep’s company for their purchases of computer media supplies  The prospect said that she personally didn’t make the final ordering decision (she was the primary user of […]

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