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Which Three Words are Killing Your Sales Efforts?


Is it ‘Call me later.’?

Maybe it’s ‘I’ll call you.’

Could it be ‘I’m not interested.’?

These are all “negative” phrases salespeople don’t want to hear. But, neither phrase contains the three sales-killing words to which I’m referring.

The three words that are killing your sales efforts are think it over. Every time a prospect has to think it over, regardless of what the “it” is, you add time to the selling process. And, time kills deals.

By eliminating the opportunities for prospects to “think it over,” you shorten the selling cycle, thereby increasing the number of sales that can be closed in any given period of time.

“Think it over” (T I O) usually occurs at the beginning of the selling cycle when you request an appointment or near the end of the cycle when you request a buying decision. Let’s examine what triggers the T I Os and how to eliminate them.

If a potential prospect has to think about granting you an appointment, it’s a fairly clear indication that your request didn’t squarely focus on a problem the prospect is likely to be experiencing. If it had, the prospect would be in a position to decide one way or the other: “Yes, I have that problem. Let’s get together,” or “No, that’s not a concern of mine. There’s no need to get together.” Bear in mind, if the prospect says, “No,” and you keep pushing for a “Yes,” a T I O may be the only way for the prospect to get you off the phone. Don’t trade “No’s” for “T I Os.”

Let’s look at the T I O that occurs at the other end of the cycle. The four most prevalent causes for a T I O at the conclusion of your presentation are:

  • Failure to obtain an agreement from the prospect—perhaps at the time the presentation was scheduled—that a decision would be forthcoming at the conclusion of the presentation.
  • Presenting product features or functions that are outside the scope of the prospect’s goals, problems, or concerns previously discovered.
  • Presenting a product or service, for which the cost is outside of the prospect’s budget or expectations.
  • Not meeting all of the criteria by which your presentation is being judged.

Determine the criteria by which your presentation will be judged before you even begin to develop it. Make sure that you have specifically defined the prospect’s needs and that your presentation is narrowly focused on those needs. Thoroughly discuss the financial issues of obtaining your product or service and ensure your product or service solution is consistent with what you discovered. And, establish an agreement with your prospect that a decision—Yes or No—will be made at the conclusion of the presentation.

If you start the selling cycle correctly, focusing on the prospect’s problems, and covering all the bases as you work through the selling process, T I Os will become a thing of the past.