“We just aren’t making a decision.”
Discouraging words from a prospect. But just the beginning of good things to come.
For sales professionals, a “no decision” isn’t a “no.”
In fact, when prospects say they aren’t ready to decide, they’re probably closer to a “yes” than you suspect. They give a lot of clues in what they otherwise do and say. And that’s when you want to shift strategies to get in line with where they are.
Here are 13 signs a prospect is close to a yes (despite claiming it’s a no):
1) They’re flexible
Prospects who remain flexible about the time they can chat or meet are still exploring options, and yours is quite viable. If they give a brief window or claim they’re under a tight deadline, they probably won’t swing your way.
What you do: Because they’re still exploring options, you want to do some comparison analysis in the time they give you to interact with them. Just make sure you don’t trash the competition when you compare.
2) They talk about their budget …
Prospects who are upfront about their budget to spend and authority to use it are still in the game. Their honesty is a sign they believe you’re trustworthy and your products are worth their budget.
What you do: Even if they talk budget, you don’t want to talk too much about it. They’re likely still feeling out the potential relationship and ROI. Continue to focus on those points.
3) … but they hold off on talk about price
Motivated buyers are highly concerned about getting what’s right for them and less concerned about the cost. Just because they don’t ask in-depth questions about your prices doesn’t’ mean they’re done with you.
What you do: Be prepared at any moment to cover pricing and financing options. A hard line on price will turn them off, but options will keep a definitive “no” at bay.
4) They share proprietary information
Prospects share personal or proprietary professional information with people they like and trust. If you’ve heard that kind of information, you’re much higher on their list of potential suppliers than they might indicate.
What you do: Continue to build their confidence in you by sharing testimonials and connecting them with your best customers.
5) They bring in other stakeholders
Most purchases are made by committee these days. If a prospect introduces you to his or her colleagues or asks those colleagues to join in your meetings, the prospect trusts you and believes you have something that will benefit the team.
What you do: Continue to provide valuable information that’s easily sharable.
6) They open up
Prospects who have told you these three critical things are serious:
- what success looks like for them
- how they will implement your solution, and
- when they need your solution
Even if they say they aren’t ready to make a decision, these are revealing facts that they only share with salespeople who they want to establish a relationship with.
What you do: Focus less on product or service benefits and focus more on building the relationship.
7) They question warranties
When prospects ask about and inspect warranties with a fine-tooth comb, they’re deeply considering the sale. They’ve likely been burned by a supplier in the past on how problems with their products or service were handled. So they are extra cautious – and slow to commit – this time.
What you do: Focus on what you do when there are issues. Acknowledge potential problems and thoroughly explain how you resolve them and how your warranty makes good on issues.
8) They repeat themselves
When prospects ask the same questions a few times – then tell you they aren’t ready to make a decision – recognize that they need extra assurance it’s the right decision before it’s made. They’re just about convinced but are still a bit concerned about buyer’s remorse down the road.
What you do: Assurance is what they need. Repeat answers and/or put answers in different formats – charts, tables, written or spoken – to help them grasp the information and see your solution is the right fit.
9) They answer your questions
Prospects who delay a decision but answer your questions about wants and needs – especially in detail – are still in the market. When they share how they feel and their vision for an ideal product, service or situation, they’re serious about you.
What you do: Keep asking. Sometimes prospects struggle to come to a decision because their wants, needs or hopes change throughout the decision-making process. So the right solution at the right time will align differently than what you both expected early in the sales process.
10) They take your calls
Prospects who aren’t ready to decide, and still take your calls and appointments need you. They take calls and meetings because they’re on the fence (and likely leaning toward your side of it).
What you do: Be persistent. Be present. As long as they take calls and set up appointments, schedule them.
11) They tell you when they’ll make a decision
So a prospect tells you she’s not ready to make a decision … but she’ll make one in what seems to be an excessive amount of time. That’s a sign she’s still interested in your solution. It means you’re on her radar, and you better keep her on yours.
What you do: If you know when prospects will make final decisions – no matter how far out of your usual sales cycle it is – keep setting appointments. You’re on their radar. Stay on theirs.
12) They’re willing to do something extra
If prospects are willing to do something you ask after they’ve told you “no decision,” they’re still interested. Gauge that interest by asking for something extra.
What you do: Ask them to fill out a survey or engage in social media before walking away.
13) They haven’t chosen another supplier
Prospects started the search for a solution because they had a need. It’s not likely they all of sudden didn’t have that need. As long as they don’t sign on with another supplier – one of your competitors – you’re still in the game and should act as though.
What you do: Treat leads as your prospects until they’re someone else’s customer.