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How to Respond When B2B Sales Prospects Say They'll Get Back to You

Posted by IndustrySelect on Tuesday, February 25, 2020

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Common Objections in B2B Sales & How to Overcome Them: Part Four


"Listen, can I get back to you about this?"

It's a phrase that has killed countless sales. Say it to any experienced sales rep, and you'll probably see them deflate before your eyes.

But do clients who say, "I'll get back to you" just want to let you down easily? The answer may be more complicated than you think. In Part Three of our 5-Part Series "Common B2B Sales Objections and How to Address Them" we covered how to handle a prospect who doesn't have the time to take your call. But what about B2B sales prospects who hear what you have to say, but then leave you with "I'll het back to you?" 

In Part Four of this series, we're exploring what clients really mean when they hit you with this phrase.

Why Do Clients Say They'll "Get Back to You"?

Generally, there are three reasons a sales prospect will tell a rep "I'll get back to you:"

1. They don't want the product or service a rep is offering but don't want to confront them directly. Telling someone you'll "get back to them" and then dropping contact is a lot less confrontational than telling a rep "your product/service doesn't meet my needs" or "I don't like what you're offering."

So yes, some prospects do use this phrase to disengage with salespeople.

2. They're not sure a rep's product or service can outperform a competitor's. Frequently, prospects will use "I'll get back to you" to stall for time and do some more research on what a product or service can do. They may call a competitor in and see if they like their pitch more, or they may try and research alternatives independently.

3. They like a rep's product or service but aren't directly in control of the sale. We've covered this previously, but the average B2B buying group today has around seven individuals in it.
Sometimes, if a key decision-maker in that group (like safety director) can't make the pitch, prospects will put a rep on hold until they can include that stakeholder in the sale.

This is particularly prevalent in manufacturing, when one stakeholder (like a safety manager or QA executive) can easily axe a purchase. Sometimes, prospects are just being honest; they really will get back to a rep, they need to talk to another member of the buying group or understand their budget more first.

So, how can you handle each of these prospects?

Let Them Let You Down Easy

If you think a client is just using "I'll get back to you" to disengage, tell them. Saying "you know, I hear that a lot, and I usually don't hear back from people who say that. Are you just trying to let me down easy?" can resolve a lot of tension.

The client can specify precisely why they want to delay the sale, and if they're just not interested, you can save everyone's time by cutting the prospect loose. Even experienced negotiators don't like letting down a rep they like, so giving the client an easy out may be appreciated (and open up the door to future business).

Ask Them What You Can Do to Close the Deal

If you think a prospect isn't biting because they don't fully believe in your offering, ask them what you can do to change their mind. Would an on-site or virtual demo help convince them? What about a discussion with a C-level executive from your company? Manufacturing deals often require a lot of capital, and prospects want to make sure they're investing in the best product. Try to assuage any doubts they have, and you might close the deal.

Ask Them What the Hold-up Is

If you suspect another member of the buying group or a budgetary issue may be holding up the sale, approach the client tactfully about these topics. Ask them if there's another member of the buying group they'd like you to speak with.

Inquire about potential budgetary issues and let them know you're open to negotiation (if you are, of course, open to negotiation).

Even if you don't make the sale immediately, you'll at least understand the problem and can maybe move the sale forward. Plus, you can use client feedback to improve your pitch and avoid these issues in future pitches.

"I'll get back to you on that" can be a demoralizing phrase for a salesperson, but it doesn't mean the end of a sale. With the right know-how and a little tact, you can navigate even the most avoidant client with ease. Meanwhile, it helps to have a constant pipeline of fresh sales leads to pursue.

An IndustrySelect subscription can put you on a first-name basis with a half million industrial businesses and one million executives. Each industrial company in IndustrySelect's live database contains up to thirty detailed facts, researched firsthand by MNI. Powerful functions let you search for companies and build & save lists of prospects, generate reports, export data, and more. IndustrySelect data also includes direct contact information for high-profile prospects. To learn more or try a free demo, visit our website.

Want to explore the "I'll Get Back to You" sales response in-depth? See more from Dan Lok in the video below or see our free online sales training videos!

What happens when a client just won't budge? Check out Part Five of this series>>Three Ways to Handle Rejection in Sales


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