Every now and then you encounter a customer who just can’t seem to make up his (her) mind. He waffles back and forth – sometimes taking up a lot of valuable time, or putting things seriously behind schedule. You try to be patient, but when it’s chronic, or when it begins to jeopardize other things, it can become frustrating indeed.

There are a number of reasons why people are indecisive. They might be afraid of making a wrong decision. They might feel as though they don’t have enough information. Often there are things going on behind the scenes, which are affecting their ability to make a decision. And there are some people who just don’t like the pressure of making decisions.

You might never know what the real reason is for their indecisiveness. But it never hurts to ask. One of the best ways is to say, “You seem to be concerned about something…” A lot of times the response to this will give you a clue as to what’s going on in your customer’s head.

If it is fear or nervousness which is driving their behavior, the worst thing you can do is just dismiss it. Saying something like, “There’s nothing to worry about” only sends the message that you don’t respect them. Instead, try using empathy. For example, “That’s not an uncommon concern. This is, after all, a big decision. Most people are very glad they made it, though….”

If there is something going on behind the scenes, a simple offer to help or provide more information can often be the solution.

Whatever the reason for a customer’s indecisiveness, the most important thing you can bring to the table is patience. Remember that for every person who lives by the credo, “He who hesitates is lost,” there is another who embraces “Look before you leap.”

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