It was just 238 years ago that a few rabble-rousers decided to get out of the British Empire. With the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their fortunes and their lives to declare their fight for freedom. But you may not know that only 2 men out of the eventual 56 signers actually sealed their commitment and signed the legendary document on July 4, 1776: John Hancock and Charles Thomson.
The remaining signatures were applied a few weeks later on August 2, 1776, after copies had been distributed to all members of the Continental Congress.
They needed time to review the document. To consider their position. To decide to go all in and rebel against their parent nation.
They needed time, in other words, to "think it over.”
Remember this the next time someone gives you the age-old objection that they “need time to think it over.” Even the founders of our country were not willing to be sold in a moment’s notice. When presented with the Declaration of Independence, they were not asked to sign immediately.
They were invited to an event in a few weeks, where everyone else would be signing. If they decided to sign with everyone else, they were welcome to participate. If they didn’t sign - well, everyone else would be watching.
This was a masterful use of selling skills. John Hancock allowed the members of the Continental Congress “time to think it over.” He gave them the exact amount of time they had to consider it, with an appointment to make their decision.
In front of everyone else.
How can you apply this lesson to your own sales process?
When your presentation is over, if your prospective customer won't meet your eyes, and mumbles something about 'time to think it over,' all you need to do is establish the boundaries of the thinking time.
1. Set an appointment for the decision.
"You should consider all the facts before you make a decision. I'll come back this time next week. That should be enough time for you to think it over, right?"
2. Discover any unresolved questions.
"While you are thinking this over, what are the questions that you need to research before our appointment?"
3. Invite a current client to the meeting.
"When I come back, I'd like to bring one of my current clients with me, so that you can ask them any questions that you develop over the next week about what it's like working with me."
Saying "I need time to think it over" is often interpreted by salespeople as "no." The Founding Fathers didn't take it that way, and neither should you.