Just when you think you have a sale in the bag, the customer hits you with a stall: “Let me think about it.” “Call us next week; we want to mull this over.”

If you are like a lot of salespeople, you have no good answer for how to handle stalls. And chances are, the sales training programs you have attended had no real help to offer.

When sales training courses and sales coaching initiatives are based on the 9 Acts of Action Selling, however, the picture changes. Andrew T. of Chicago, a commercial account manager for the Pep Boys auto-supply chain, recently discovered how following the system enables you to turn a stall into a major sale. Here’s what he told us:

“OMG!!!! I set up an appointment with a client at a muffler shop who had been thinking for weeks about buying four lifts. My Commitment Objective (Act 1) was for him to buy the lifts. I went in and used the process, following all the steps.

“When I asked for commitment (Act 7), I met with a stall. I used my back-pocket TFBR, then asked him for the sale. (More on “TFBR” in a moment.) It was hard not to talk, but the silence paid off. Four lifts and $13,000 later, I felt pretty good!

“The part of Act 8 where we scheduled a ‘next step’ blew him away! We agreed on delivery time, date, installer, and his grand opening. “I left feeling great about the sale I made. And, yes, I did ‘Replay the Call’ (Act 9) in the car. I cannot wait for my next sales call!”

TFB…What?

Action Selling’s sales training programs teach that a stall is just the customer’s way of saying, “I’m not quite sold yet; sell me a little more.”

This does not require that you pull some exotic new sales skills out of your hat. The best way to approach the challenge is by using the TFBR process that our sales training courses and sales coaching programs recommend as the optimum way to structure sales presentations. Instead of presenting a long laundry list of features that may or may not interest the customer, you simply work quickly through a short series of TFBRs:

  • Tie-Back – Connect to a need that you and the customer have already agreed upon.
  • Feature – Describe a feature of your product that relates to the need.
  • Benefit – How will the feature meet the customer’s need?
  • Reaction – Ask how the customer perceives this as a solution.

Our sales training courses and sales coaching initiatives teach that you always should go into a presentation with at least three TFBRs, tied to three important needs that you and the customer have previously agreed upon.

Furthermore, like Andrew T., you should have one extra TFBR in your back pocket, as a reserve. So suppose you finish your presentation, ask for commitment and, instead of a “yes,” you hear a stall. What do you do? You pull out your reserve TFBR and use it to do what the customer is asking you to do: Sell a little more. Then you ask for commitment again.

Like Andrew, you will be amazed at how often this method lets you turn a stall into a “yes”.

For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.

Duane Sparks

About Duane Sparks

Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling.  He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations.  Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).

Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).