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The Dreaded “We’re Going to Hold Off” Email – And How to Respond


“My sale was moving along and was on the verge of closing, but then I got an email that said “We’re going to hold off” – What happened? And how do I respond in this situation?”

SALES ANSWER by Michael Pedone
When this situation happens, usually there are two platforms…

  1. You’re speaking with the Ultimate Decision Maker and THEY are the ones that emailed you the seemingly bad news; or…
  2. You’re speaking with the Influencer and they delivered those deflating words to you.

Of course, there’s also a third platform where you THINK you are dealing with the decision maker but in reality, you aren’t, but for the sake of this article, let’s assume you are truly speaking with someone in position of power or position of influence – and they just lowered the boom on you.


I’m a huge advocate of CALLING FIRST and EMAILING SECOND.
This situation however, is the exception to the rule.
If you call your prospect right after receiving their email – one of two things is going to happen:

  1. They will ignore your call because they want to avoid conflict. Or…
  2. If they do answer your call, their guard will be up and it will be very hard to bring down.

What I’ve found to be extremely helpful is to reply back to the email in a very particular way. My goal is to do two things:

  • Lower their guard;
  • Get them talking.

So in my reply, I simply say something such as “OK, no problem. Thanks for the heads up.”
This will help lower their guard as they expected you to ream them about why they should be buying from you. It will be a relief that you aren’t trying to strong-arm them into buying.
The next step is to ask them a simple question. The question needs to have a THIS or THAT.
Email Reply Example:
“OK, no problem. Thanks for the heads up. Is the course outline not a good fit or do you not need up to 99 seats?”
Now if you truly were following the right sales process and they really were a highly qualified prospect that went off the tracks towards the close, and you handle this situation the way I’m sharing with you, you stand a good chance of having them reply (I had to run this play last week and I ended up recovering the deal – so I know it works).
Since my email reply lowered their guard and then asked them a THIS or THAT question, they were more willing to reply. And that’s all we need them to do.
If the prospect decides to reply, they will explain what the delay is. They will either say it is THIS, THAT or SOMETHING TOTALLY DIFFERENT – which is what you needed to know. In essence, you now have (or are a lot closer) to the real objection.
Now that you have a better understanding of what the true reason for the hold up is, simply reply to their email with this:
“Ok I have an idea… Let me check on something first.”
Now wait a few minutes and then call them. When you call them back, they’re going to be curious about what your solution is. Their guard will be down and their curiosity to hear your solution will be up.
You’re in perfect position to handle the objection and close the sale.
– Michael Pedone
pedone_micheal_dr002Michael Pedone is a straight commissioned sales person with 20+ years experience selling by phone. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – an online sales training company that shows inside sales teams how to eliminate call reluctance and close more sales.

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