Sales Strategies

Deciding Your Next Move When the Prospect Abruptly Has 'No Time'

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It is important for young professionals and new business owners to “know the no” when potential clients reject working with them. Mental toughness and understanding people cannot be talked about enough when starting a new venture. The best way to aid against the rejection in hearing the word "no'' is to understand the reasons why people object.

The four reasons why people don’t buy or want your help comes down to; No Need, No Money, No Time/Urgency, No Trust. We have already visited no need and no money, now we examine the 'no time/urgency'' response.

Related: Overcoming the "It Costs Too Much" Objection

Though "no time'' is only one of the four reasons why people do not buy, it is probably the objection offered used most frequently. When the prospect says "I am really too busy to do this right now,'' it is often a polite, or face saving, way of saying “I have no money,” “I don’t really see the need” or “I don’t trust you.”

Do not jump down the prospect's throat, offering a slick line to combat their excuse, when they balk at signing the deal because they, all of a sudden, have no time. If you think timing isn’t the real issue, simply try to find what is.

Use language like: “In addition to being very busy, is there any other reason?” If they give a different reply that still seems it isn’t the root cause of deferment, then ask again, “in addition to being very busy and ____________, are there any other reasons why this deal isn’t being acted upon?”

This well help you politely identify the true cause in a non-threatening way, versus responding to every objection they have.

It is true that time is everyone’s greatest asset, especially business owners, but we need to figure out what "no time'' is a mask for. Often, "no time'' just means that this issue isn’t a top priority in the prospects business or life, at this point. They may have a big need but they do not have a burning desire to fix the problem. This can occur due to two reasons.

The first reason why it isn’t a priority is your sales cycle was so long that their desire waned in between interactions. To prevent this in the future, get in the habit of sending follow up emails that outline the need, why it is important to that person based on your initial conversation and asking when the next meeting will be. This will keep the problem and the benefit of fixing the problem in front of them between meetings.

Related: Five Tips for Nailing the Sales Visit

If time lag isn’t the issue, then re-evaluate your initial interactions with the prospective client. You probably were effective at discovering the need but never asked the level of importance this issue was in the prospect’s life. In initial conversations, make sure there is ample time talking about the importance or desire they have in fixing the problem, in addition to the actual landscape of the problem. This can prevent frustrating experiences for both you and the client. You may think your solution would feel like an organ transplant to the client when they feel as though their problem is nothing more than a hang nail. 

If it truly is a timing issue then your balance of empathetic persistence needs to play out. If you are not listening to the prospect when they tell you that they have no time, and you still try to get back in front of them, you will probably botch any potential relationship. Listen and gently follow up. Follow up language simply can sound like, “John, I know a few months back this was important to you so I wanted to make sure I do my job and reconnect. How do you feel about getting back together next week to see if anything has changed so I can give you some updates on my end?”

People tend to procrastinate when it comes to making final decisions, which leads to waning urgency and desire between the interactions. If you need to set up a time to ink a deal, and you are aiming for “next Thursday at noon” and the prospect says that day doesn’t work for them, we tend to default to, “how about the Thursday after that?” Instead of pushing it out a week, reel them in with some language such as , “Since you are busy next Thursday, I will work hard on this and get it to you by next Monday.” Bring the meeting closer to the present versus further away from the wanted time.

Most successful prospects are busy and may legitimately have no time. The trick is for you to be so busy in your business development strategies that you have no time to worry about a prospect saying "no'' because you have so much more business already lined up!

Related: The 10 Laws of Sales Success