When Buyers Hesitate
When Buyers Hesitate

You’ve just invested the last 90 minutes with someone who really needs a new vehicle. You feel like you’re on a roll. You firmly believe that the truck, car or van they’ve selected is good for them and that they can afford it. They’re giving you both verbal and visual buying signs: touching the vehicle, pushing the various buttons, opening and closing the doors and windows. Some will even take a look at the engine. They’ve started talking about taking that road trip with the whole family in comfort and style. Or maybe they’re planning to join friends on a camping trip or helping other family members move some things. Everything is going along smoothly. They are envisioning their lives with this new vehicle.

Then, the brakes go on. They start hedging, asking questions you have already answered or being very quiet and physically backing away either by getting out of the vehicle, crossing their arms or leaning or stepping slightly away.

What happened? Something perfectly normal.

Few people get so excited about a new vehicle that they just whip out their checkbooks or credit information and say, “Let me have it!” It does happen occasionally. However, it’s not the typical situation you encounter.

When people get excited about owning something new, little voices start talking in their heads. I don’t mean that they have any kind of mental issues. It’s just that they’ve been told ever since they were little to “Think twice before making decisions” and “Never sign on the dotted line unless you’re absolutely sure of what you’re getting into.” They start second-guessing themselves and questioning whether or not they’re making a wise decision. They might even flash back to a bad past experience. They’re considering change and change can be hard for people — even when it’s a change for the better.

They may have thought they were ready for a new vehicle when they drove onto the lot but, when it comes right down to handing over the keys to old Betsy and pulling their personal items out of the glove box, what they thought was a welcome change can generate second thoughts. When that happens, nasty old Mr. Fear creeps into their psyches and cause them to freeze like deer in the headlights. Their hesitation might turn into an outright objection to the vehicle they professed to love just a few minutes before. This may seem irrational to you since they were so excited about it a moment ago but if you’re going to make it long-term in your selling career, you need to learn to expect it. It’s a perfectly natural aspect of the buying experience.

Let’s take a closer look at what happened: It’s a case of rational vs. irrational. Emotion vs. logic. Buying is not done logically. It is an emotional decision that is made. Then, it’s rationalized. When the brakes come on, it just means that the rationalization hasn’t happened yet. It’s your job to help them rationalize the buying decision.

The rationalization is that the amount of money you are asking for the vehicle equals or outweighs the discomfort they’re feeling by not owning it. In other words, they have to come to terms with feeling better owning the vehicle than having the money in their bank accounts (or with having another monthly bill to pay).

Rather than physically prying the money out of their hands, you must learn to psychologically nudge, prod and lead them to the decision that you and they truly believe is a good one. This is where the art of selling comes into play.

The next time a buyer you think is heading for the close stops dead in their tracks, say these two simple sentences. “Obviously, you have a reason for hesitating. Would you mind sharing it with me?”

If you deliver those two sentences warmly — with sincerity — and then wait for their answer, they’ll tell you exactly why they’re hesitant and you’ll have something to move forward with. If you don’t know what’s holding them back, you could say or do something that completely turns them off about owning that vehicle.

The holdup could be because of any number of things. Usually, it’s the money. Sometimes, they start thinking they don’t have to make the decision today now that they know the right source for the vehicle they want. The point is you can’t address the cause of the hesitation until you know what it is. And those two little sentences will show you the path you need to take to the sale.

Don’t let buyer hesitation keep you from closing sales. Ask the right question and you’ll learn exactly what’s holding them back.

About the author

Tom Hopkins


Tom Hopkins is world renowned for teaching practical, how-to selling strategies. His training increases competence and builds confidence when it comes to qualifying, presenting and closing sales. www.tomhopkins.com Or, Click Here to download a free e-book titled, “6 Practical Tips for Making More Automotive Sales.”

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