I need to think it over or did you really mean no

They think it is all over…. It is now..!

 The title above is a famous phrase from the 1966 World Cup final when a very young Mr. Hurst scored a goal in the final few seconds. Translate that into the world of selling and it would read = If you think it’s all over – then it is...

With sales, there is a very fine balance between not taking no for answer and giving up too easily or too soon - and to be successful in sales it is vital to find an effective balance between the persistence and determination to win the order and the desire to build a harmonious relationship with the prospect.

In the 2008-2009 Be More Effective @ Sales Survey of the most commonly reported barriers to sales around the globe, participants said that dealing with comments such as “I’ll think it over” or “I’ll get back to you” or “we’ll let you know” was the most difficult.

By reflecting on your own experience as a buyer you can probably understand why. For example; one of my friends told me she was recently contacted by a cleaning company offering their services. My friend said she had a cleaner already but she’d “think over” the potential new supplier. She genuinely meant she would give it consideration but they took her “think it over” to mean “no” and never contacted her again... #Fail.

Equally “think it over” can actually mean “no” – many of us don’t like saying no to someone, we don’t want to offend them so we fudge our answer and hope they take the hint. So how is the poor salesperson to make a judgment?

The answer is to go about sales in a different way. At Be More Effective we concentrate on training sales teams in principles and approaches which will avoid the “we’ll get back to you” style of results.


Here are two of our golden nuggets:

1. Concentrate on opening relationships rather than purely closing sales. If you have developed an effective degree of trust and rapport by being genuinely interested in them and by asking good, well thought out questions you will be in a better place to dig behind the ‘put-off’. Without the rapport and trust built in first, they are less likely to allow you to probe further. If you are not able to probe – you will never know what they mean = It is all over…

2. Handle the stall as an objection. You'll recognise the most common form of a stall with phrases like “We want to think it over”, or “I’m too busy to make a decision right now”. There are many variations. The key to dealing with these non-specific objections is to recognize the customer's statement is actually a stalling tactic and not a genuine objection, and you can learn a what to say next.


If you can get in the mindset of regarding a stall as a non-specific objection, then it makes sense that the strategies you use in overcoming sales objections and countering stalls are going to be a major factor in your success as a salesperson.

 Whatever the cause for the stall, handling it isn't a science - it's an art. The art is in helping the customer see that you truly accept and understand their hesitation, you might not agree with it – you have genuinely heard it.  So:

  • acknowledge that you heard them
  • reassure them it is a valid response and you are OK with it
  • ask questions, probe behind the stall, start a conversation, draw them out
  • only once you have a real question or concern to handle can you make progress
  • then BEFORE you answer the question or concern confirm there is nothing else preventing a sale.


I hope this advice will help if you are in a similar boat to those 2000 plus who took part in the “Sales Problems Survey”. This comprehensive piece of research actually identified 40 barriers to sales and in future blogs I will look at the other most common obstacles and give you some potential solutions.


If you would like to talk about any sales issues, or receive a report on the top sales problems we found then please get in touch with Be More Effective.


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