Overcoming Sales Objections - 

The Stalling Prospect

Overcoming this sales objection - the stalling customer

How to recognize and overcome a stalling objection.

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Overcoming Sales Objections – The Stalling Prospect
©2007 David A. Peterson

Why do prospects use stalling tactics? Is it because they are just not ready to buy? Is it the wrong time for them to buy? How many times in the last week have you heard these stalling objections?

  • The boss will not be in until Friday.

  • I will have to talk it over with my wife.

  • I don’t have time today but I will get to it next week.

  • I’m not ready to purchase it today.

  • I will look at it when I get off vacation.

  • We don’t have the money this quarter.

  • The management team will get together next week. I will bring it up to them at that time.

  • I told you I would call you when we are ready!

All of the objections above are certainly stall tactics. However, they are not necessarily used to push the decision off until sometime in the future. 

I would bet my last dollar that they are really used to just get you off the phone or out of their office. How do I know that? One word – Experience! 

  • Here is what experience teaches me:

  • Guess what, the boss will not be in Friday either!

  • Why do you have to ask your wife?

  • Exactly what time next week should I call?

  • Do you think you will ever be ready to purchase?

  • Shouldn’t you do this before your vacation to get it off your plate?

  • Is business suddenly picking up next quarter?

  • You really have a team for a $500 purchase?

  • But I thought you asked me to call back?

Even though I’m making sarcastic comments in the responses above you should be thinking the same thing. I don’t think you should be blurting these responses out to your prospect but they should be crossing your mind.

If these stalling responses are not crossing your mind then we need to re-look at the sales process.

The sales process is Open, Probe, Pitch, and Close. If you keep running into stalling objections then you are trying to close too quickly. You haven’t done a good enough job in your probing questions and you haven’t made a solid enough pitch to get this prospect to purchase. It’s not time to close yet. You have other objections besides time that have not been uncovered.

Newsflash – The prospect isn’t stalling because they have other issues. They are stalling because they don’t want your product. 

The prospect is stalling because they are too nice to say “NO” to you. There’s a revelation, customers are actually afraid to say no. The problem is that they don’t plan on saying yes either. 

They are stalling to get rid of you. You just don’t take the hint so you keep calling. 

Again, if you keep running into stalling tactics you need to re-address your sales process. While you have the prospect engaged in the process you need to start checking for possible timing or monetary issues that could possibly hold up a deal. 

The best way to do this is to use simple trial closes. Here is an example:

Prospect: “David our committee gets together every other Tuesday. I can’t make this commitment without their consent.” 

Sales Rep: “Jim do you need me to attend this meeting to help you with the proposal?”

Prospect: “That won’t be necessary. I think I have a pretty good handle on this.”

Sales Rep: “Jim can you see any reason why they would reject this proposal?”

That’s the trial close – “Jim do you see any reason…” You are not closing here you are just checking for the stall. In other words is the committee really the issue? Is Jim even going to present your proposal? Are there other objections that you need to uncover before Jim makes his pitch to the committee?

Contrast that example with the way you are probably doing it today:

Prospect: “David our committee gets together every other Tuesday. I can’t make this commitment without their consent.” 

Sales Rep: “Great, Jim I appreciate you bringing this to their attention. Can I call you on Thursday after the meeting?”

Prospect: “Sure give me a call then.”

In the above example you really don’t know what Jim thinks of your product or your proposal. You are so excited about having a “live one” that you forget to find out if this is a warm prospect or just a warm body.

One of the real problems with the stalling objection is that it gives the sales representative too many prospects. That’s right, I wrote – It gives the sales rep too many prospects.

The sales representative gets so many prospects that are stringing them along that eventually they stop prospecting. Why keeping prospecting when you have 500 prospects? The reason the sales rep ends up with 500 “good” leads is their prospects keep continually giving them hope. These “Good” leads need to be cleaned up. They need to be dropped to make way for actual prospects.

Prospect: “Call me back next Tuesday, the bosses was unexpectedly called out of the country for an emergency meeting.”

As a professional sales representative you have to get past this type of stalling objection. You have to get the customer to say yes or no. You have to stop calling people that are not going to buy. 

Personally if I was just called out of the country for an emergency meeting do you really think the first thing I’m going to do when I get back is purchase something? Don’t be afraid to let go, your time is much more important.

Try this:

Prospect: “Call me back next Tuesday, the bosses was unexpectedly called out of the country for an emergency meeting.”

Sales Rep: “Jim, we have been talking about this for a couple of weeks. In your estimation what is the chance of this moving forward? I don’t want to waste your or your boss’s time if you feel there isn’t a strong possibility of this happening on Tuesday.”

You are just checking for the stall with trial close “…if you feel there isn’t a strong possibility…”

From the prospects point of view the object of the stalling objection is to delay the decision. Unfortunately in many occasions you don’t know that the decision has already been made and they are just afraid to tell you “no.”

Why the decision was already made when your product looks perfect for this prospect – that’s where the sales process comes into play. Did you Open, Probe, Pitch, and Close? Or, did you open, ask a few questions, and then try to close? If you did the latter then I bet you ran into the stalling objection. 


David A. Peterson

David A. Peterson

Author of: 

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