When Buyers Hesitate

Follow this advice if customers aren't jumping at the chance to purchase your product or service.

By Tom Hopkins

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You've just invested the last 30 minutes of your day withsomeone who truly needs your product or service. You feel likeyou're on a roll-that your product is truly good for them andthat they can afford it.

It began when they explained what they were looking for when youfirst met. They answered all your questions about their morespecific needs. They listened intently to your explanations,watched your demonstration carefully, handled the product andselected the colors or sizes that would work for them. Basically,they seemed very involved and moving toward the purchase. Then thebrakes went on. They just stopped. Then they started hedging,asking questions you had already answered and physically backingaway either by sitting back in their chair, crossing their arms orliterally leaning or stepping slightly backwards.

What happened? Something perfectly normal.

Few people get so excited about a product or service that theyjust whip out their checkbooks or credit cards and say, "Letme have it!" Yes, it does happen at times and with certainproducts that are prone to impulse sales. However, it's not thetypical situation you'll encounter.

When people get excited about owning something new, littlevoices start talking in their heads. I don't mean that theyhave any kind of mental issues. They're just typical.They've been told ever since they were little to "thinktwice before making decisions" and "never sign on thedotted line unless you're absolutely sure of what you'regetting into." They might even flash back to a bad pastexperience when they made a poor buying decision and lost eithermoney or face. When that happens, they have nasty old Mr. Fearcreep into their psyches and cause them to freeze like deer in theheadlights, not knowing what to do or where to go.

Their hesitation might turn into an outright objection to theproduct. This may seem irrational to you since they were so excitedabout it a moment ago. But now we're getting close to the realanswer. Rational vs. irrational. Emotion vs. logic. Buying is notdone logically. It's an emotional decision that's made,then rationalized. When the brakes come on, rationalizationhasn't happened. It's your job to help them rationalize anybuying decision.

The rationalization is that the amount of money you'reasking for your product or service equals or outweighs thediscomfort they're feeling by not owning it. In other words,they have to come to terms with feeling better with the productthan having the money in their bank accounts. People are veryemotionally tied to their money. It may be the strongest bond otherthan the deep emotional bond between spouses or parents andchildren.

Rather than psychologically prying the money out of their hands,you must learn to nudge, prod and lead them to the decision thatyou and they truly believe is good for them. Try these two simplelines: "Obviously, you have a reason for hesitating. Would youmind sharing it with me?" If you deliver these two sentenceswarmly and with sincerity, they'll tell you exactly whythey're hesitant, and you'll have something to move forwardwith. It could be a number of things. Usually, it's the money.Sometimes, it's an issue with color or measurements or time.They might start thinking they don't have to make the decisiontoday now that they know the right source for the product theywant. The point is you can't address the cause of thehesitation until you know what it is. And that little question willlead you to the answer.

Tom Hopkins

Tom Hopkins is world-renowned as "the builder of sales champions." For the past 30 years, he's provided superior sales training through his company, Tom Hopkins International.

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