Is the objection real? When someone says “Let me think about it”, is he or she telling you the truth?

Let’s face it, some people toss out this classic objection because they simply want to get rid of you. They say it, not because they mean it, but it’s a polite method of getting you off the scene. The trouble is, if you are not savvy to this brush off, you can waste a lot of time and energy following up with emails and telephone calls.

On the other hand, some people really DO need time to think about it. Some need time to ponder their options while others like to simply digest the information to ensure they do not make a wrong decision.  The trouble here is if you are a cynical person who has heard the objection time and time again, you may not take the request seriously and fail to follow up and hence, lose the opportunity.

Here are three approaches to handle this objection.

#1: Say nothing

This works well when you are dealing with someone on the telephone. Here’s how it works: when they tell you they want to think about it, you say nothing. Not a word more. You just wait patiently.

Silence over the telephone creates a vacuum and most people get uncomfortable with the silence. After three or four seconds, most people feel the compelling need to fill the void with words. You still say nothing.

They might ask “You still there?” To which you answer “Yes, I’m … just giving you time to think about it.”

You will be amazed at how well this technique works as long as you can discipline yourself to hold your tongue for ten seconds.

Typically, the person will elaborate on the “let me think about it” objection and this often uncovers their real objection. For example, they might say they have to speak to their boss or their wife or business partner. Suddenly you discover there’s another player in the game.  They may say they are looking at other proposals, and now you know you are in a competitive situation. Or they may simply not be interested at all. In any event, you have more information upon which to base your next step.

#2:  Give them the time and get a commitment

Another approach is to grant them thinking time – but put a limit on their pondering. It sounds something like this:

“Well, let me think about it.”

You: “I understand completely, Mr Thomas. A decision like this needs some time. What say I call you next week to get your thoughts and to determine the next step. How does Wednesday at 8:45 look on your calendar?”

If the prospect accepts the date recommendation, the LMTAI objection is probably legitimate. The person needs time for whatever reason. You know this because he has agreed to a specific time and date. It shows commitment. The key is to not only get a follow up date but also a set time.

This approach is very non-threatening and is perfect for people who legitimately want more time. They will appreciate your courtesy and understanding. That’s why you deliberately empathise with the person by saying you “understand”.

This type of person doesn’t like being cajoled or pressured. If you push too hard, they will say “no” to your offer because they don’t like your aggressive approach. Your offer could be extremely valuable and well priced but these people value trust and relationships more. They might just be slow decision makers.

If the prospect baulks at your first suggestion, try another date and time and see whether they respond more positively. If they baulk again, ask when would be a good time and date. If they cannot make a date commitment chances are they are brushing you off and your time is better spent elsewhere. 

#3:  Probe for legitimacy

This approach is from Brian Jeffrey. His approach is to first empathise with the other person and then determine if their objection is legitimate or a smokescreen. 

Prospect: “Let me think about it.”

You: “I understand completely. May I ask what concerns you still have?” or

“May I ask what’s causing you to hesitate?” or

“May I ask what questions I’ve left unanswered?” or

“May I ask what your final decision will be based on?”

Needless to say, this type of probing gets the person to open up, which helps you determine whether the objection is real or false. We are all involved in explaining things to people. It’s always better when we can cut through the waffle and get straight answers to your questions. 

By Jim Domanski. Reproduced for educational purposes.   

If you are interested in expanding your capabilities and setting up your freelancing business, NZIBS has a range of courses that may be suitable.

Learn how to earn an income working from home

Train for a new job at home, and in your own time. The Institute has been giving adults a second opportunity at a new career since 1991, by teaching people the skills to grow personally and become financially self-reliant. Discover your options. Make choices.