Stall tactics are a type of objection that don’t mean “no”, they just mean “not yet”. Sometimes they indicate our customer’s need for more information (logical) and often they tell us that our customer just isn’t comfortable moving forward yet (emotional). Stalls can be the result of not building enough value in our customer’s mind, but usually it’s nothing more than a natural response to an uncommon situation like a major buying decision.
Unfortunately, stalls sound just like their brothers the “reflexive” objection (those that come before we’ve had time to relax our customer by building rapport) and the “condition of sale” objection (those that come at the end of the transaction and must be satisfied for the sale to occur). By far, the most common reason sales people fail at effectively handling a stall is because they only know one or two ways to handle objections and most of the strategies they do know address the “condition of sale” for closing purposes.
To effectively handle stall tactics, we need to have responses that address both the logical stall and the emotional stall and then we need to recognized where in the sales transaction the stall appears. By taking into account the timing in which it occurs, we’ll be able to use the appropriate strategy to help make it easier for our customer to move forward through the buying process. The majority of sales are missed because the salesperson isn’t able to help the customer make it through the entire sales process, not because they didn’t have what the customer wanted.
There are many different kinds of stalls, but for our purposes now, we’ll address the objection:
I need to think about it
If this objection occurs at the transition from the lot to our office, many sales people mistakenly first use the direct question strategy: “What exactly do you need to think about?”, which is a perfectly good strategy, if our intent was to close the sale. This strategy is specifically designed to help us close the sale by narrowing it to the final objection.
However, what are we trying to do here, close the sale or get to the write up? Our intent is to make it easy for our customer to get to the next step of the sale; the write up stage. By using a closing technique here, we often force our customer to justify why they shouldn’t begin the negotiating process. We unwittingly hurt both our cause and our customer’s. Plus we may make our customer even more uncomfortable thus creating a bigger roadblock than it currently is.
If this objection occurs at the transition, we should first use “Smart Decision”:
● “Folks, at least allow me to share with you the basic numbers, that way you’ll have all the information you’ll need to make an intelligent decision. That makes sense, right?” (Wait for the answer, then say,) “Follow me.”
● “Of course you need to think about it, it’s a big decision. Come on inside with me, and allow me to give you a basic idea of the numbers involved. That way when you do think about it, you’ll have all the info you’ll need to make a smart decision. Does that make sense?”
If this objection still exists at the transition or if it occurs after presenting the first figures, then we can use “Exactly What”:
● “If you don’t mind me asking, exactly what is it you need to think about?” (If they say, “we don’t know”, we say,) “If you did know, what would it be?” (If they still say, “we don’t know”, we say,) “But if you had to guess, what would it be?”
When our customer won’t/can’t pinpoint the roadblock to a decision, we can use “3 Ps”:
● “How long do you need to think about it folks?” (Wait for their answer, then adjust this response to their number. If they say two days, we use the number two. If they three days, we use the number three. Let’s assume they tell us “One day”, we say,)
“Folks, whether it takes one day, one week, or one month, it’ll come down to the same three issues it does for all of us. We actually call it the three Ps. If you’ll let me share them with you, it’ll probably save you a lot of time, may I?” (Wait for their answer, then say,)
(At this point, we are simply trying to discover what the final objection is. And since our customer is already predisposed to tell us “No”, we’ll frame the next questions to make each “no” a “yes”.)
“The first P stands for product. Is it missing some equipment?” (Wait for their answer) "Is it the wrong color?” (Wait for their answer) “Does it have too many miles?” (Wait for their answer) “Is there anything about the vehicle that you’d change?” (Wait for their answer)
“Okay, if it’s not the first P, then it’s probably the second P and that’s the people element of your decision. Is it the dealership location that’s got you hung up?" (Wait for their answer) “Is it the dealership reputation?” (Wait for their answer) “Goodness, I hope not but did I do something to offend you” (Wait for their answer) “Is there anyone here that’s given you the impression that we wouldn’t go the extra mile to make sure you’re satisfied?” (Wait for their answer)
“Well if it’s not the first P, and it’s not the second P, it’s got to be the third P and that’s either price or payment. Which one are you most uncomfortable with?” (When we discover what the final objection is, we address it accordingly.)
If this objection occurs at the end of the negotiations, we use “3 Questions”:
● “At the point we’re at now, your decision comes down to three basic questions, may I share them with you?" (Wait for their answer) “Number one, does this vehicle give you what you want?” (Wait for their answer) “Number two, can you afford it?” (Wait for their answer) “Number three, am I the kind of person you want to help you with this decision and to support you through the entire ownership experience?” (Wait for their answer) “Since you’ve answered yes to all three, I just need your okay right here.”
As a last resort, we can use “Excuse Myself”:
● “After all this, if my clients are still telling me they need to think about it, what they are really politely saying to me is that they want to discuss it without some salesguy/salesgal hanging all over them. I completely understand that folks. Let me do this, let me excuse myself for a few minutes and you discuss this. When I come back I’ll make myself available to answer any final questions you may have. That way you’ll feel completely comfortable about owning your new vehicle.” (Then we quickly get out of their line of vision for about half a minute. After 30 seconds or so we get back into their line of vision but not so close as to be able to hear what they are discussing. Once they call us back in, we address either their “No thanks” or their “We’ll take it” but what they can’t tell us is they still need to think about it. Most of the time that is.)
Timing can sometimes mean everything. By having multiple strategies for each of the most common objections we encounter, and by being cognizant of the timing in which they occur, we can usually competently and confidently lead our customer through the entire buying process.