A customer response auto salespeople hear a lot is, “I want to think about it.” Variations are, “I want to sleep on it” and “We are not buying today.” These are among the toughest selling objections to overcome.

I once worked with a guy who asked customers why they wanted to think about it. The salesman would get upset at them for what he perceived as wasting his time, saying, “When you are done thinking about it and ready to buy a car, give me a call.”

He also would tell them to shop around and get a price, and he’d beat it. I’m pretty sure that he didn’t get many callbacks.  

Asking customers why they want to think about purchasing a car is like asking house hunters why they don’t want to buy a house right away, or why someone isn’t taking a family holiday, or why a person can’t manage to save more money every month.

The reason you should not directly inquire is because it’s actually none of your business. But by asking a few simple questions, you’ll be able to determine the real reason.

When addressing this mother of objections, the first thing you should consider is whether you have done everything for the customer up to that point.

Did you introduce yourself properly? Did you ask all of the contact questions? Did you do a proper vehicle presentation? Do a full demonstration drive? Sell the dealership? Help select the correct vehicle based on customer needs? Did you ask for the sale?

If you have done everything to the best of your abilities, then you have done your job. This does not mean you can give up now that a customer is hedging. Without asking why, you have to dig a little deeper into the real reason they want to exit the dealership.

These objections are especially difficult for new sales staffers to deal with. But the following word track might help when the customer declares, “I want to think about it.”

Say: “Mr. Customer, I want to make sure I have given you all the information you need to make your decision. But is there a problem with the color of the vehicle?” (pause)

“Is it (refer to any of the options on the vehicle)?" (pause)

“Is it the dealership or our location for servicing of your vehicle? (pause) Is there something about the vehicle I have not answered for you yet?" (pause)

“Could it be the price of the vehicle or the payments or your trade-in value?”

If it is one of these, and it most likely is, tell the customer, “So, if we can agree on the price, payments or difference figure, you would like to get the new vehicle as soon as possible, right?”

If the answer is, “Yes,” you have overcome the objection. Continue with your worksheet, negotiations and closing the sale.

If it is, “No,” and you can go no further, discuss the situation with your sales manager. Tell the customer, “Please just give me one minute, I’ll be right back.” Do not say where you are going; just go, and ask them to wait a bit.

At this point, your sales manager will close the sale or set an appointment for another time and day to meet again. Don’t let the customer leave until you have discussed the situation with your sales manager.

They are there to help you sell vehicles and make a living. Always use your managers. It’s not a one-man show.

Of course, you are not going to be able to sell a vehicle to everyone, but if you are consistent in your techniques and employ a thought-out process, your closing percentage will be well above the industry average.

If you can get more than half of them to stay and negotiate some numbers, you have handled the objection about the best anyone can. Don’t forget why people come to your dealership. They want what you have to sell.

Darin George is the founder of the Automotive Sales College. He can be reached at darin@visitasc.com.