“I’ll need some time to digest what you just said.”
As a younger, less experienced sales rep, I used to think this phrase was awesome. I would go into a meeting with a prospect, ask my basic doctor-check-up questions, wait until the client spoke approximately 60% of the time (it works every time) and would then jump right into my rehearsed, relatively canned “pitch:” start with the history of my company and move all the way through to the different services we provide. At the end of many of these meetings the client would lean back in their chair, take a deep breath and say, “Wow, that all sounds really impressive. Let me take some time to digest what you just said and I will get back to you with my thoughts.” I would walk out of those meetings feeling like I was Captain Sellalot and think to myself, “Man, that guy was so impressed with what I just told him he didn’t even know what to do.” And therein lies the problem: since the client didn’t know what to do with the information, they didn’t end up doing anything, or at least doing anything with me.
It took me a while to comprehend how bad the “digest” response was, but it hit me like a ton of bricks when it did. I took a closer look at my close rates on the customers who told me this and started to see how low they actually were. Thankfully this realization hit me early in my sales career before my approach caused too much damage. I began to understand, to a certain degree, that to “digest” is a big part of what Sales does; always has been and always will be. Sales is helping people to digest all of the information available in the marketplace so that they can make better decisions which result in a positive impact to their business.
I’ve adopted this mindset ever since this realization and it has had a positive impact on my career. People appreciate someone with knowledge and information, but they pay attention to someone who can help them make sense of it. If you can help people digest information so they make better decisions and if you do so in a genuine way, then you can really make a difference. This also means being honest about what your solution can or can’t do and where it does or doesn’t fit.
There are many other responsibilities we have in Sales but put “digest” towards the top of the list. If you hear this word from the client after your meeting with them then you haven’t done your job and you probably won’t close that sale.
By the way, what prompted this blog post was a recent e-mail I received from a client after asking about next steps. He responded with “I need to digest a bit amongst the customer meetings this week and am traveling next week. I will connect with you by the end of the month.” I will put money on the fact that I don’t close this one.
Make it happen!
P.S. Feel free to digest some of the free resources in my Resource Library.