Getting Decisions

Call me next week….

I want to think about it…

I need to discuss this with my (lawyer, accountant, partner, staff)

You can agree to call back later. But if you do, you can say goodbye to 80% of your sales. As soon as you hang up they will immediately NOT think about you. Instead they will attend to the multitude of tasks, both important or trivial that catch their attention. When you call back they will have forgotten you name, your product, and why they were interested in the first place. They will say:

I though about it and we are not interested right now…. maybe next quarter, call me then.

We have done it the way we do now for a long time and I see no pressing reason to change.

We don’t have it in our budget, call us next year…

Will they wait for your house payments? Do they take excuses or cash at the grocery store?

If you want to make a sales happen, instead of waiting for a sales to happen, you need to solve this problem.


I’m glad you asked……

There are two approaches. One works and the other does not. Let’s start with the latter.

Tacked On

Poser: I need a decision now.
Prospect: OK, the answer is no.

Poser: Product is selling out.
Prospect: Are you going to make more?

Poser: Price increase is coming.
Prospect: I’ll pay the price you quoted or find another supplier.

Poser: If you buy now you can start saving (or making) more now rather than later…
Prospect: We have lasted 20 years without your product, I think we will last another month.

Engineered In

At the beginning of your presentation ask the following questions:

Closer: Can you do me a favor?

Prospect: What?

Closer: After I have finished showing you how my service works and what it can do for your company, can you tell me what you really think? Don’t hold back because you want to be nice… OK?

Prospect: Sure, I can do that.

Closer: Thanks. Can you also tell me exactly what you intend to do? If you are going to buy or not? I agree not to be pushy or try to sell you. I see my job as trying to help people who can benefit by our services. Does that sound fair to you?

Prospect: Yes, in fact it does sound fair and refreshing…. nobody likes to be pressured.

Closer: It’s not my place to say if you should buy. It’s your company and only you know all the facts and other considerations. I see my job as being an expert in my product and knowing how it has affected others who invested. I agree to share what I have learned with you. If you feel it is in your best interests to invest in our product, like all the others we have worked with, can you simply tell me?

Prospect: OK.

Getting Decisions

If your objective is to somehow force a prospect to buy, to talk the prospect into doing something that may be against their best interests, you are doomed to fail. People will resist, push back, and decide they don’t want to do business with you.

If you encourage a prospect to act in their own self-interest, considering the new information and ideas you have provided, they are likely do do so. They may decide not buy, considering that it is not their best course of action at the time. They may buy and you have a new customer.

What you want above all else is a DECISION. Yes or no, not a maybe. This is the definition of a close, asking for a decision.

The method presented above is the most straight-forward, simplest, and effective way to set up a decision. Just be honest and ask for one. Why don’t all reps do this? Because they don’t care about anybody’s self-interest other than their own. They would be perfectly happy to learn a method of coercion and lie as long as they get the sale and the money. They are con artists, not professional sales reps, regardless what it says on their business cards.

Let’s continue the dialogue:

Closer: I have shared with you how five small manufacturers all told me that using our software increased units produced by hour by 8% on average, reduced defects by 6%, and was easier and less tiresome to use so staff morale improved. Not only that, they all reported that they have gained new customers, often edging out a competitor, by describing their investment and how it means they can deliver better parts faster for lower costs. On average they tell me the software is worth over $200,000 each year even though it costs $5,000 per year. It is compatible with all existing systems, can be installed and your staff trained in about an hour.

Does this sound good so far?

Prospect: Yes.

Closer. I am glad we both see that. It’s why I wanted to work for the company because they really convinced me that people would want to buy their product. It was a big decision since I interviewed with 3 other companies offering software to manufacturers. I made the decision to go with my company and have been very happy, it worked out even better than I imagined for my career. I would buy this myself if I was a manufacturer.

When we started, I asked you a favor. I asked you to let me know what you really think and not to hold back. Can you do this for me now?

Prospect: Well, I must say I am totally impressed. Of course I like the product, what’s not to like? I just need to be sure it will be a good move financially. I can see that others using it have easily gained both on costs and on sales. It makes a lot of sense…

Closer: You are in a competitive market. Your competitors that don’t have our software won’t understand how they keep losing bids and accounts. Of course you will know….

Do you think it’s in your best interests to invest the $5,000?

Prospect: Yes, it looks like a good move…

Closer: It takes about an hour to get this software installed and your team trained. I have an opening tomorrow at 11:15am, does that work for you?

Customer: Yes, I will put it on our calendar. Thanks.

Closer: Thank you. I am looking forward to working with you.

You can’t force people to act against their own self-interests (without a gun). You can encourage them to act in their own self-interest. When you do this you earn the right to ask for, and indeed insist on, a decision. What they decide is up to them, not you.

You want more sales. The best way is not to attempt futilely to talk people into acting and deciding in your interest. That is not going to happen. Instead get more decisions. It’s not the no’s that kill you. It’s the maybes. You may get more no’s when you force decisions to happen but you will also get more yes’es. The yes’es will add up to your huge success.