Timing objections always seem to pop up at the worst time, am I right? Whenever it seems like things are going smoothly with a new prospect, they’ll say those terrible words: “I just don’t think it’s the right time to buy.”
Much like comedy, sales is all about having the right timing. For sales reps, a timing-based objection to a purchase can be one of the trickiest to overcome. Unlike other types of objections like price or need, timing is a wishy-washy objection – it’s often difficult to tell whether a prospect is just putting you off or if they really need more time to consider. So how do you push past this objection and win the deal?
Seriously folks, what’s the deal with timing objections?
When Did You Hear the Objection?
The first step to overcoming a timing objection is understanding when it crops up in the selling process. If you hear a timing objection at the very beginning of a sale – perhaps during an initial cold call with a prospect – this usually means that the prospect is trying to shut you down and get off the phone quickly. It’s probably not a real objection based on business needs, but just an excuse to avoid talking to you. In this case, you need to overcome the objection by being persistent, continuing to engage with the prospect and showing that it’s worth their valuable time to talk to you right now.
If a timing objection comes up later on in the buying process – after a demo or multiple calls with a prospect – it may be a legitimate objection. The prospect’s boss may be the one postponing the decision, the prospect may be overwhelmed with work, or there may really be no budget this quarter for the purchase. However, you can’t simply accept their reason at face value and give up on the deal. This is where you need to find out more about what’s going on at the business. If the prospect tells you to call again next quarter, you should ask, “What will be different in a few months?”
Why Is It Bad Timing?
The key to overcoming objections is getting to the root of the timing problem. If a prospect tells you it’s the wrong time to buy, you need to ask, “Why is it a bad time?” Here are a few questions that will help you discover the cause of the issue:
- How important is solving this issue, compared to other business priorities?
- Do you simply not have the manpower to handle this implementation right now?
- Do you have a current contract with another vendor? What is your relationship like with them?
- When will this contract be up? Would you be interested in switching vendors then?
- Are you evaluating solutions from other competitors right now?
- Will this be a priority next quarter? When is the latest deadline for solving this problem?
There are different ways to overcome the various kinds of timing objections, from a competitive comparison to case studies showing why other companies have switched from one vendor to your company. Armed with the right information, you can move onto the next phase of selling.
Overcome the Objection
Once you find the real business reason behind the objection, you can start to convince the prospect that waiting longer will hurt the business more than making a decision now. This tactic is all about putting things in perspective. You should ask, “How much money will it cost your business to wait to solve this problem?” They may be overwhelmed right now, but you can emphasize that nothing will be improved by waiting to buy. Instead, things may actually get worse in the interim. You can help the prospects realize that they’re just procrastinating on solving an important issue by not buying right now.
However, sometimes you simply will not be able to overcome a timing objection, and have to accept the objection and call back next month. If there isn’t an approved budget for the purchase this month, for example, you’ll have to wait until they have the money to buy. But in the interim, you can get everything ready to sign the deal on the first of the month. Push the prospect to go through the legal approvals, senior management approvals and whatever else is needed so that when the time is right, they can sign.
Sometimes a joke falls flat, and sometimes your sales timing is just off. However, that doesn’t mean you should give up and lose the deal completely. Keep talking to your prospect, find out the reason behind their objection, and show them why they need to buy. With a sense of humor and some determination, you can stand up and overcome that sales objection.