Handling Procrastinators

Let’s take a few minutes to talk about one of our “favorite” prospects as salespeople: The Procrastinator.

You know who I mean. The prospect who never says no but never says yes, chewing up huge chunks of time in the process.

person holding a pen, waiting to take action

There is a mountain of research on why people procrastinate, but the bottom line is that deep down on an emotional (not a logical) level, the procrastinator perceives or “feels” that there is more risk by making a decision and doing something than by not making the decision and doing nothing.

For example, let’s say that someone likes a pair of shoes but they are slightly beyond their price range. They procrastinate because they want the shoes, and may keep thinking about buying them, but they put more emphasis on how bad they will feel when the credit card statement comes in versus how good they will feel when they buy and wear the shoes.

A good shoe salesperson will recognize this dilemma and appeal directly to the emotional block. In this case, the salesperson should address the person’s bad feelings about the cost by pointing out that these superior shoes are known for their durability and will last twice as long as less crafted shoes, so they are actually less expensive than the alternative in the long run.

It all comes down to perceived risk and feelings. The procrastinator will usually not make their final decision on logic. There is an emotional barrier in place which must be recognized and diffused on an emotional level.

And if the situation drags on, it is fair to ask the following question to get to the emotional hot button. 

“Ms./Mr. Client, you seem very interested in this product. May I ask what may be holding us back at this point from closing this transaction?”

You will usually get a good clue in the answer.

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