“Not Now” — What You Should Do When a Customer Says This

We’ve all heard the famous sales objection (or any number of variations of it):  “Not now.”

However a customer words the objection, it always means the same thing: The customer does not see a need or reason to buy at this time.

For someone in sales, hearing this is like getting acid reflux after eating the ultimate taco you’ve been craving all week.

We have to remember that although we might be experiencing acid reflux, the taco we just ate was sure good.

Our challenge is to figure out a way to minimize or eliminate acid reflux next time.

The same principle applies for the sales call that ends with the customer saying “not now.”

What should you do?

First, do not take the “not now” objection as an indication the customer is not interested.  To the contrary, the words “not now” means the customer is ready — they’re just not ready to buy now.  Or, I should say, they’re just not ready to buy now based on what the customer has heard from you or believes is their current state of affairs.

When the customer says “not now,” it might be tempting to blurt out something like, “What would it take for you to buy right now?”

If you say something like this, it invites the customer to challenge you on your price.

This can and will lead to major problems both in the short-term and long-term.  This is the absolute worst thing you can say to a customer when they’ve said something like “not now.”

What you do need to do is focus on the most important benefit they’ve shared with you.  Your objective then is to take that benefit and tie it to the value of time.

The objective is to get the customer to realize how waiting is not in their best interest, despite how they may feel they don’t have the money.   When you can tie time and their key benefits together, you can then create a compelling reason for them to say “yes” — now!

An example of this might be a customer who is looking to install a new piece of equipment that will lower their operating costs.  The challenge the customer is facing is the capital required to buy the equipment.   The customer feels by waiting a year they will be in a better position to buy.

Yes, this sounds very logical and a quick response would be provide them extended terms or lower the total price so they could buy now.

A much better response would be to tie the value of the new equipment to what they see as their key benefits.

This customer may have a real passion for quality and flexibility in serving the needs of their customer.  Knowing this, you could come back to them and show them how investing in the new equipment would increase their level of quality and provide them even greater flexibility in production.

If you show them how all it would take is for them to gain one new customer because of it or conversely not lose a customer due to a problem, then financing the cost of the purchase to buy it now will seem more advantageous to them.

When the customer says “not now,” your strategy should become focused upon linking benefits and time together.  The customer will then start to see why it is detrimental to not buy now.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.


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