How to Counsel Your Prospect When Their Procrastination Is Stalling the Sale
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Whether your goal is to take a jog, make a career change, or buy a new home, there is a gap between the destination and your current situation. That space may be filled with fear, limited resources, a lack of experience/training, or any number of obstacles. When procrastination fills that gap, there is one main reason: the perceived obstacles (which are tied to your beliefs) are stronger than the motivation to reach the goal.
As a salesperson or business owner, you must move prospects or employees forward by addressing the false beliefs and also by getting them to state their own needs out loud. I’ll explain using the example of buying a home (which applies to other areas, too).
Judgment day is this: going through each line of your credit report with the loan officer who can either move your purchase forward or end your dream with the stroke of a pen. Even when homebuyers find the home that will provide a better education for their kids or have a backyard for their dream garden, the fear of the perceived judgment day can be enough to keep them from improving their lives.
Even though they know what they want, they might procrastinate their purchase until it’s too late. What a shame! In this example, the motivation needs to grow in their minds—or the fear of judgment day needs to decrease. This is where you come in.
You’ve got to find out what’s compelling them forward, what’s holding them back, and how to close the procrastination gap. Find out why they want to buy and what the reward is on the other end. It may be about giving their kids a better future or a safer environment. They may be trying to prove to themselves, or others, that they can do it, or find security and establish roots. They may just be bored and looking for something new.
These are all compelling, but if they aren’t moving forward, limiting beliefs are holding them back. Maybe they think they can’t afford to buy or are afraid to even try to find out. Or maybe they feel they don’t have time or that it’s going to be too much work. Whatever it is, find out. This knowledge will be your most valuable tool in leading them forward.
In addition to identifying and reinforcing the compelling reasons, an important step in closing the procrastination gap is to get people to say their needs and intentions aloud. Think about the last time you said a goal aloud. Maybe you wanted to write a book, climb a mountain or improve your health. As long as it’s a private desire, you can talk yourself out of it. You can convince yourself it’s too hard or will take too long. Once you say it aloud, it gets real and adds accountability.
Think about what happens when someone realizes that they’ve met their future spouse. It instantly goes to a whole new level once they admit it to a friend or family member. The more people you tell about your intentions, the more powerful and meaningful these intentions become. Once they agree and then admit it (to you, their spouses, the stranger at the gas station… anybody), the motivation goes beyond you telling them the compelling reasons.
My coach, Catherine Crosslin, gave this concept of procrastination to me when I was dragging my feet on having a difficult conversation with an employee. She said, “You are procrastinating either because you don’t have a strong enough vision (motivation) or your beliefs are limiting you.”
Buyers who have every reason to buy but lack urgency are stuck. Remove the limiting beliefs and make compelling reasons strong, and they’ll buy.
Related: 12 Commandments for Closing a Sale