In case you missed my last post: If you don’t have an assistant, guess what – YOU are the assistant! And if you are spending valuable time on the administrative tasks that keep you busy, that means less time or, more likely, longer workdays to perform the real work that generates your revenue.
On to this post: When a prospect says the dreaded words, “Let me think about it”, our job is to figure out what the stall, excuse, or objection is and help (not push) them with their decision. Here’s a model that can help you do that.
And if you’re new here, welcome aboard. This is what we do!
Something a newsletter reader sent me: The Problem with Answering, “What’s Your Hourly Rate?” from accountingWEB. (Hat tip to SU.)
My take: This is a quick, must-read article if you are interested in learning the first steps of moving away from hourly pricing, using conversations to determine prospects’ needs and urgency, and providing pricing options.
Let me think about it.
We’ve all heard those disconcerting words, right?
We tried hard to convert a prospect into a client.
We made our best pitch, but we couldn’t cross the goal line.
But … did we make our best pitch?
And … was it the prospect who didn’t want to cross the goal line?
I believe that understanding buyer psychology to get the work is just as important as having the technical skills to do the work. Maybe even more so because if you can’t get the work, you can’t do the work!
A while back I came across a buyer psychology framework in a Facebook group I belong to. When I studied it, it really – and I mean REALLY – put me in my prospect’s shoes. Here’s the model; let’s deconstruct it.
The axes of the model are Trust/Believability and Urgency/Need.
So first, does the prospect trust us enough to believe that we can do the work? Can we do what we say we can do? Trust and Believability are a function of our Authority – do we have specialized knowledge … are we known for that expertise … and have we been recognized for it.
And second, how urgent is the prospect’s need to get the work done? Is there a trial next month? Or is the estate tax return due in 6-9 months? Urgency and Need are a function of where we catch the prospect in their buying process.
The 4 quadrants of believability & need
The flux between Believability and Need creates a classic Eisenhower Box with four quadrants. Let’s look at the quadrants.
The 1st box is Complacency (high believability/low need), which leads to inertia.
The prospect believes we can do the work.
BUT there is no urgency to motivate them to act now.
The 2nd box is Indifference (low believability/low need), which leads to rejection.
If a prospect doesn’t believe we are a fit for the work AND there is no urgent need to get the work done, there is little likelihood that we will close a sale here.
The 3rd box is Skepticism (low believability/high need), which leads to objections.
Here, the prospect is interested because they have an urgent need.
BUT they won’t commit because they haven’t totally bought into what we are selling them.
The 4th box is Enthusiasm (high believability/high need), which leads to conversion.
Finally, the stars align!
The prospect believes we can solve their problem, AND the prospect reached out to us when their need became urgent.
A sale is won or lost at the tipping point of a decision. A decision in our favor happens when a prospect’s trust in the believability of OUR services intersects with the urgency of THEIR needs.
So when the prospect says, “Let me think about it”, our job is to figure out what box our prospect is in – Complacency, Indifference, or Skepticism. We need to ask probing questions to determine what the stall, excuse, or objection is. And with our responses, we can move the prospect up the axis of Believability … and/or right on the axis of Need.
If prospects are low on Believability, can we convince them we can do the work? Does our website provide case studies or testimonials? Does our LI profile have recommendations?
If prospects are low on Need, do we have a way to nurture them until they are ready to buy? Do they get a newsletter from us? Or emails or phone calls to periodically check in with them?
In real life
When a prospect says to me, “Let me think about it”, I say, “Gee, that response usually means either you are not interested right now (low Need) or you are interested but not sure (low Believability). Which is it for you?”
If the prospect says “not interested”, there is not much I can do except to continue to stay in touch (without being a pita).
But usually, the prospect says “not sure”, which is a euphemism for our fit or my price. So I ask, “Do you think we are not a good fit, or is it my price?” And we go from there.
I am either going to be a good fit or I am not. Maybe there was some misunderstanding about my experience that I need to correct. Maybe they don’t like that I live/work/travel in an RV.
And if it’s price, it’s price. Though I do normally offer pricing/service options to change the question from “Do I want to work with Rod?” (yes or no) to “How do I want to work with Rod?” (which option).
At the end of the day, we need to recognize that prospects will hire us when they need our services – not when we need their business. So a rejection for any reason might not mean NO; it just might mean NOT YET. We should nurture the prospect in our CRM system. Over time, the NO can become a YES as the prospect consistently hears from us and we use those opportunities to create value and build rapport.
We do a much deeper dive into this model in my coaching program because it is so critical to understanding prospects and converting them into clients. Hopefully, this brief introduction is helpful and you can put it to use in your practice.
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