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How to get your prospect off of "Let me think about it."

thinkingThe situation seems right for you to start the job. During an initial conversation, the prospective customer has a need. You have the talent and tools to help them. It should be a no-brainer that you’re going to move forward, right?

That’s when you hear, “Sounds great. We’ll get back to you soon.”

While some refinishers may be tempted to think this means a “yes,” it’s actually a stall tactic prospects use to buy themselves more time. It doesn't mean it’s necessarily a “no” either, but sitting there in “maybe” land isn't going to feel much better. In fact, it may actually be worse.

What it takes from here is some deeper questioning on your part to see why the homeowner is pausing. View a variety of examples of questions you might consider asking to help your prospect take their finger off the pause button and convert them into real customers.

“How important is it to you to get this job taken care of?” “If this isn't addressed, how much is that going to bother you?”
Right now, it may not yet feel like a big problem to get a tub refinished. So paint a picture of a future in which it will be a bigger issue. The key is to get them talking about it – not you. The more they talk, the more they make the problem their own.

“It’s common for people before they get started to be worried about the cost of the job. Do you have similar concerns?”
There’s a funny thing about money – sometimes it’s not as much about the actual amount as it is about a fear of not getting what they paid for. Think about the person who puts a dollar in a vending machine and doesn't get what they want. There’s not a lot of money invested in that situation, right? But it’s the action of parting with money without getting the desired result that frustrates the person. What you think may be all about cost on the surface could be about something more, including a fear of getting “burned” and feeling foolish as a result. Get all costs out in the open so they’re seeing you’re not hiding anything to spring on them later.

“Do you have any questions about the time frame? Are you comfortable with me taking that block of time to get the job done right?”
Like money, time is a hidden concern on the prospect’s mind and not even just the time related to the job. They may be worried about how much of a disruption in their daily routine the job is going to be (perhaps they need to pick up the kids from school, go grocery shopping, etc. but don’t want to leave home for an extended period of time while you’re there). Be clear about how long you expect the job to take, even if it’s a reasonable range that gives them a sense of what’s entailed.

“Would you like the names and numbers of some people who have used me and are very happy with the work?”
Sure, they’re being friendly to you right now during an initial conversation, but how do you know they’re fully confident in your skill level? Put their mind at ease by offering to connect them with other homeowners who have had successful outcomes from working with you. After all, that’s an outcome that isn't in front of them at the moment and again, with money and time in the balance, being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel with examples of the finished product may go a long way.

Dani Nichols

I started out with NAPCO in 1996, shortly after it was purchased by Steve Coven. Both Steve and I shared a vision of growth for NAPCO. Always hungry for knowledge, I learned whatever I needed including sales, marketing, web development, operations management, HR, building and retaining a customer base. Whew! It has been a lot of fun because in the end, I really like working with our customers. They make it all worthwhile for me.

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