Marshall’s been working on a major deal for months. He’s addressed every objection, outlasted every competitor, explored every need. Now the moment has arrived. He asks for the sale.

Suddenly, his buyer has become intensely interested in that little pile of paper clips on the edge of her desk. Clarissa clears her throat, taps her feet, shifts in her chair.

“Um, I need some more time, Marshall. Let me sleep on it.”

So what’s going on here? Does the buyer have a hidden objection? Is she playing a game to wring more concessions from Marshall? Was she just stringing him along?

Well, maybe. But there’s a good chance that the buyer is simply suffering from a case of cold feet. There’s nothing wrong with the deal. The buyer’s not trying to pull a fast one. She’s just afraid to take the next step.

That kind of hesitation is known as “purchase anxiety.” And salespeople often respond to it in a way that makes matter worse. They see their sale slipping away and start to feel anxious themselves. So they give the buyer a little nudge to push them over the edge. Which, in turn, only raises the buyer’s anxiety some more.

The secret to overcoming purchase anxiety? DON’T PUSH. Slow down. Acknowledge to the buyer that some jitters are to be expected. Then back up and help the buyer reconnect with the emotions that prompted the sale in the first place.

photo credit: stuartpilbrow

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