When you get prospective clients in for a consultation and at the end of the meeting they tell you they have to “think about it,” you probably get a sinking feeling that you’ll never see them again. Because this isn’t the first time you’ve heard this and you’ve probably done it yourself when you had no intention of buying something.
But do they really have to think about it? Or is this an opportunity for you to get to what is really behind their hesitation?
When someone says they have to think about it, what they are really saying in most cases is that they need something more from you to make a decision. Guessing what that is won’t work. You’re going to have to do some gentle probing to get behind the real reason they won’t make a commitment.
Typically, your prospect isn’t ready to commit because they still feel they lack information. They may not even know what information they need. You may think you’ve provided them with everything they need to know, but maybe they didn’t understand it all and are too embarrassed to ask for clarification.
Remember, 99% of the people coming to you for help probably have no experience with legal issues. They don’t know the jargon, they’re scared of what they don’t know and they just want you to make them feel better. If you are talking in terms they don’t understand, this only increases the discomfort.
So take a good look at your consultation script and take out any words or phrases that smack of legal jargon. Once you understand that the average reading level of American adults is about 7th to 8th grade, you’ll realize how quickly legalese can intimidate them.
Getting to the answer you want
I know it makes you uncomfortable to try to uncover the real reason someone is telling you they have to think about it. You don’t want to come across as pushy or over-eager. You’re no ambulance chaser. And sometimes, you get a prospect that will never pull the trigger, no matter what you do.
So look at it this way: this person came to you for help. Part of your job in helping is to get them to figure things out, get the answers they need and to take action. Getting someone to that point of action is part of the process.
When prospective clients say they want to think about it, this is the next thing you should say:
I understand that you want to take some time to think this over (validation). Since you came to me for help, I want to make sure I’ve done all I can so I’d like to ask you a few more questions if that’s OK with you.
May I ask you what you need to be able to make a decision?
Would you share with me what you need to think about, specifically?
What answers do you need from me or others before you can make a decision?
Are you comfortable with me and my experience?
If you are able to hit on the source of the hesitation, you have a much greater chance of closing the deal right then and there. It’s not easy — you have to do it carefully and with empathy — but it can be done.
Tackling the issues
There are several different things that “I have to think about it” is code for, and you should have a strategy for dealing with each one:
I’m not ready to deal with it. People in bad situations like to hear about other people who’ve gone through the same thing and come out better on the other side. If someone is not emotionally ready to deal with their legal issue, talk to them about other clients who’ve faced the same problems and how you helped them deal with them. Tell your prospect how much better your clients felt after the ordeal was over. Let him or her talk about their emotions and show them how you will provide the support they need to make it through.
I don’t know how I’m going to pay for this. Just about everyone assumes that legal problems are expensive. Address the issue upfront with them, making sure they understand first how much the problem will cost them and then help them figure out how they can finance the solution.
I need to discuss this with my family. Talk about the discussion they will have with their family and figure out how you can make the discussion easier and more productive for them.
I don’t trust you. The best solution to this is to continue the conversation as long as it takes for the prospect to begin to feel they can trust you. Listen more. Empathize more.
I find this too overwhelming. Most clients have no idea how complex legal issues can be. Once you start explaining it, it can be overwhelming. If you get the feeling this is the reason for your prospect’s hesitation, break the process down into manageable parts and come up with a manageable plan.
The next time a prospect tells you they have to think about it, don’t let them walk out the door until you’ve done a little more digging to get them to a “yes.”