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When Your Prospect Won’t Make a Decision

Two questions to ask to get them past decision paralysis.

Your prospect won’t make a decision. It’s frustrating. Downright infuriating. You’ve met with them, presented a proposal, but they won’t make a commitment. The good news is they continue to take your calls. The bad news is they keep telling you some iteration of “we haven’t made up our minds.” So, what do you do?

In our coaching, when faced with a situational prospecting scenario, we typically frame such conversations around preventative and prescriptive measures. Preventative measures are those that you could implement ahead of time to help prevent such situations. Prescriptive measures are meant to remedy these situations once they’ve happened.

Preventatively, when you have an indecisive prospect, did you take the time to truly understand their needs? Did you clearly communicate your ability to solve those needs? Did you address all concerns? Did you communicate your differentiators? Did you build enough rapport and emotional equity? While it’s easy to blame the prospect that is stuck, sometimes it’s not their fault.

These preventative measures are great to know for the future, but what do you do now? We need a prescription, and we need it fast. 

We find it’s best to start by asking your prospect some carefully crafted questions. The first question is designed to bring them back to center:

  • “I’d like to circle back to where we started. What led you to reach out to us in the first place?” 

The brilliance of this question is it forces the prospect to state, in their own words, why they should move forward with you. Typically, people engage for fear of loss or desire of gain. Have a conversation with them about it.

Next, communicate what it would look like if your prospect moved forward with you and how that would feel. You might say:

  • “We often find that it’s hard for people to make these sorts of changes with their investments, but they feel a major sense of relief once it’s done.”

You’re looking to paint the picture of what it feels like to have this “project” complete. If you were a personal trainer instead of a financial advisor, you might be telling your prospect, “I know it’s hard to commit, but think of how you’ll feel once you’ve dropped fifty pounds.” You’re reminding them you’ve seen this process many times from start to finish—and the results are worth the effort.

Remember, when someone is having decision paralysis, repeating the same follow-up approach multiple times is unlikely to work. Use these questions to help them re-think their need to delay. 

What approaches can you share?  Leave us a note in the comments section!

@StephenBoswell is President of The Oechsli Institute and author of Best Practices of Elite Advisors@KevinANichols is the Chief Operating Officer for The Oechsli Institute and author of The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors.

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