Around this time of year, it's not unusual to hear a prospective customer say: "Call me back after the holidays."  Experienced salespeople wince when they hear this, because it usually means that the customer isn't going to buy.

The typical response is therefore to push the customer to buy now, perhaps by offering a discount, or by stating that the product won't be available at the same price in the new year.

The Right Way to Handle

That's a mistake according to Michael Pedone of SalesBuzz.com. "The prospect may have a legitimate reason for needing to wait. If so, any further attempts to get them to move on 'your time frame' may jeopardize your relationship and perhaps the sale itself."

Rather than pushing, assess the customer's intentions with a simple question: "When I call you after the holidays, what happens next?"

If you get a positive response like "we move forward," or "we place the order," then you simply schedule a call after the holidays.

However, you get "some type of bogus, non-committal or non-affirmative answer then you know you have not got them committed to solving their problem or you're talking to the wrong person in the first place"

In this case, your best response is ask further questions to determine where you've gone wrong. "Best you deal with those issues now while you have them on the phone rather than waiting till after the holidays," Pedone explains.

Pedone notes that if you're hearing "Call me back after the holidays" a lot, you need to rethink your sales process (what sales questions you ask, when you ask them, how you ask them, why you ask them, etc.) so that you don't end up in this situation to begin with.

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